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Ricky’s picks for Wednesday at Roland Garros, including Alcaraz and Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka will be back on the court following a five-setter when he goes up against Thanasi Kokkinakis in round two of the French Open on Wednesday. Carlos Alcaraz is also on the Day 4 schedule.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(1) Carlos Alcaraz vs. Taro Daniel

Title favorites will be on red alert following Daniil Medvedev’s first-round exit at the hands of Thiago Seyboth Wild in round one. Alcaraz probably didn’t need a wakeup call, anyway, because the third set of his match against qualifier Flavio Cobolli was too close for comfort. The 20-year-old defeated Cobolli 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, improving to 31-3 this season–a record that includes four titles.

Up next for Alcaraz is Daniel, who ran into against Spaniard in qualifying at the 2021 Oeiras Challenger and lost 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Daniel comes in at 112th in the rankings and that was good enough for direct entry into the main draw thanks to more than a few withdrawals. The Japanese veteran made the most of his opportunity by crushing Christopher O’Connell 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round, but he has made it to the third round of a slam only once in his career (2022 Australian Open) and with Alcaraz standing in his way the climb back will likely be too steep.

Pick: Alcaraz in 3

Stan Wawrinka vs. (WC) Thanasi Kokkinakis

Wawrinka and Kokkinakis will be squaring off for the first time in their careers. The beginning of this tournament was almost the end for Wawrinka, who needed four hours and 35 minutes to outlast Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(2), 1-6, 6-4. At 38 years old and having been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, that wasn’t exactly an ideal opening match for Wawrinka.

Kokkinakis, on the other hand, played on Sunday instead of Monday–so he has enjoyed an extra day of rest. He also made quick 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 work of Dan Evans, so fatigue is not at all a factor. The Aussie has not played a lot of matches on clay in 2023, but he at least reached the second round of the Rome Masters as a qualifier. Kokkinakis is the much younger and more rested of the two players, so he should have the edge.

Pick: Kokkinakis in 5

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