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Ricky’s picks for Day 1 of the U.S. Open: Tsitsipas vs. Raonic and Bublik vs. Thiem

First-day action at the 2023 U.S. Open will be highlighted in part by Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Milos Raonic and Alexander Bublik vs. Dominic Thiem.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best matchups on Monday.

(7) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Milos Raonic

Tsitsipas and Raonic will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they square off in round one of the U.S. Open on Monday. Their only previous meetings came in 2020, when Raonic prevailed 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(2) at the Australian Open and 7-6(5), 6-3 at the Cincinnati Masters.

Of course, things will likely be much different more than three years later. Raonic is now 32 years old and missed almost two full years from the summer of 2021 until this summer. The Canadian has won some matches on both grass and hard courts, but is he ready to take down Tsitsipas? Probably not. The seventh-ranked Greek reached the final of this season’s first hard-court Grand Slam at the Australian Open; he may not go that far in New York, but he should have more than enough to get past Raonic.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 4

(25) Alexander Bublik vs. Dominic Thiem

Bublik and Thiem will be facing each other for the second time in their careers. Their only previous showdown came at the 2019 French Open, where Thiem took care of business 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5. Of course, that was not only when Thiem was in his pre-injury prime but also his beloved clay.

Now it’s Bublik who has the edge in both current form and the surface (a relatively fast hard court). The 27th-ranked Kazakh captured the Halle title earlier this summer, which is the biggest reason why he is seed in New York. Thiem is winning a fair amount of matches as his comeback continues, but he is nowhere near back to his U.S. Open-winning ways of 2020. This one should go Bublik’s way.

Pick: Bublik in 5

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