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Ricky’s picks for Sunday in Madrid, including Rune vs. Davidovich Fokina

Fellow Spaniards Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Roberto Bautista Agut are hoping to reach the second week at the Madrid Masters when they take the court on Sunday. They have tough respective third-round matchups with Holger Rune and Karen Khachanov.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(10) Karen Khachanov vs. (20) Roberto Bautista Agut

Khachanov and Bautista Agut will be facing each other for the ninth time in their careers on Sunday. Bautista Agut leads the head-to-head series 6-2 and he has won three in a row and six of their last seven meetings. If there is any good news for Khachanov, it’s that he is 2-0 against RBA on clay. However, neither one of those encounters came in Madrid–where the Spaniard is playing at home and likes the faster conditions.

Bautista Agut should have a good chance to pull off a minor upset. The veteran clearly matches up well with Khachanov and he opened in Madrid with an impressive three-set defeat of an in-form Quentin Halys. Khachanov also won 6-3 in the third on Friday, scraping past Thiago Monteiro. A slight edge goes to Bautista Agut.

Pick: Bautista Agut in 3

(29) Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs. (6) Holger Rune

Rune has been getting along well during the clay-court swing, but to say that it hasn’t been easy would be a considerable understatement. The world No. 7 was runner-up in Monte-Carlo, edging Jannik Sinner in a semifinal thriller before losing a similarly wild one to Andrey Rublev. In the Munich title match one week later, he fought off four championship points and Botic van de Zandschulp failed to serve out the match three times as Rune finally prevailed in a third-set tiebreaker. In his first Madrid match, the 19-year-old Dane battled past Alexander Bublik 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(9).

Rune is playing well, but he may be fatigued. That could make things difficult against Davidovich Fokina. The Spaniard is also in fine form, coming off a quarterfinal showing in Barcelona–where he defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Emil Ruusuvuori before succumbing to Carlos Alcaraz in two tight sets. The world No. 35 dismissed compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 in the second round, so he is well rested heading into this one. It’s Davidovich Fokina for the upset for me.

Pick: Davidovich Fokina in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.