10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s pick for Tuesday night at the Australian Open: Sinner vs. Rublev

Andrey Rublev is 0-9 all time in major quarterfinals. His losses in those matches have come to Novak Djokovic (twice), Rafael Nadal, and Daniil Medvedev (three times), among others.

None of those three opponents stand in his way of a Grand Slam semifinal this time at the 2024 Australian Open. But it’s someone almost as daunting–if not equally–if not more.

Rublev and Jannik Sinner will be facing each other for the seventh time on Tuesday night at Melbourne Park. Sinner leads the head-to-head series 4-2, but the reality is that it isn’t that close. Both of Rublev’s wins have come via retirement; moreover, Sinner has won four of their last five meetings–including three in straight sets. They squared off twice last year, when Sinner won 6-2, 6-4 at the Miami Masters and 7-5, 7-6(5) on the indoor hard courts of Vienna.

Sinner was red hot when he defeated Rublev in Vienna. His post-U.S. Open swing last year included two ATP titles, two victories over Novak Djokovic, a runner-up showing at the year-end championship, and a Davis Cup title for Italy. He has remained on fire in Melbourne, beating Botic van de Zandschulp, Jesper de Jong, Sebastian Baez, and Karen Khachanov all in straight sets.

Rublev’s road to the last eight was far more difficult. The Russian required five sets against Thiago Seyboth Wild in round one and five more against Alex de Minaur on Sunday night (four hours and 14 minutes).

Even without factoring in Rublev’s well-documented struggles in major quarterfinals, he would still be up against the wall in this one. It’s just not a good matchup for him, in part because he has to play a lot of defense against Sinner–and that’s not what Rublev likes to do.

Pick: Sinner in 4

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