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Ricky’s picks for Day 4 of the U.S. Open: Dimitrov vs. Murray and Rublev vs. Monfils

There are plenty of blockbuster matchups in the U.S. Open second round on Thursday. Among them are Grigor Dimitrov vs. Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev vs. Gael Monfils.

Here are my previews and picks for the two most intriguing matches.

Andy Murray vs. (19) Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov and Murray will be facing each other for the 12th time in their careers. Given Murray’s injury woes, though, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to find out that they have not squared off since 2016. That’s a long time, but for whatever it’s worth Murray has won five of their last six meetings. This stretch includes their only previous showdown at Flushing Meadows, which Murray won 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

This isn’t the same Murray now, of course, but he is playing well enough to continue his dominance of Dimitrov. The 36-year-old Scot is up to No. 37 in the world and may be climbing higher after he dismissed Corentin Moutet 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Dimitrov needed four hours and 40 minutes to overcome Alex Molcan 6-7(9), 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(11-9) while saving three match points. It was arguably the most dramatic match in the entire first round. This won’t be an easy recovery for Dimitrov and Murray isn’t the opponent you want to face when you are fatigued.

Pick: Murray in 5

Gael Monfils vs. (8) Andrey Rublev

After losing right away at both Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, Rublev needs all the help he can get these days. Help is exactly what he received in round one, as scheduled opponent Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew because of an illness. It was none other than Ruusuvuori who beat Rublev in Cincinnati. Now the No. 8 seed instead went up against lucky loser Arthur Cazaux, whom he cruised past in straight sets.

Now the draw gets tough again for Rublev. A resurgent Monfils has won multiple matches at three consecutive events, including a quarterfinal showing at the Toronto Masters. He defeated Taro Daniel 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(4) to maintain his fine form. Monfils has the talent to win this match, obviously, but it’s not easy to put Rublev away quickly and in a long match the physical edge would go to Rublev.

Pick: Rublev in 5

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