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Ricky’s picks for Thursday in Rotterdam, including Sinner vs. Monfils

The quarterfinal lineup at the ABN AMRO Open will be set following the conclusion of play on Thursday. Jannik Sinner, Gael Monfils, and Hubert Hurkacz are among those looking for spots in the last eight.

Here are my previews and predictions for two of Thursday’s matchups.

(1) Jannik Sinner vs. (WC) Gael Monfils

On the way to his first Grand Slam triumph at Melbourne Park, Sinner beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the opening round. The 22-year-old can only hope that the story is the exact same in Rotterdam. In his first appearance since prevailing at the Australian Open, Sinner began his week at the ABN AMRO by defeating Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Up next for the fourth-ranked Italian in round two is Monfils. They have squared off on five previous occasions and Sinner leads the head-to-head series 4-1 (2-1 on indoor hard courts). In their lone 2023 encounter Sinner got the job done 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 at the Toronto Masters. Monfils, 37, is down at 70th in the rankings. His record this season is a modest 2-3 after defeating Denis Shapovalov 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the Rotterdam first round. All sings point to this being one-way traffic for Sinner.

Pick: Sinner in 2

(4) Hubert Hurkacz vs. Tallon Griekspoor

Hurkacz vs. Griekspoor has been a fascinating matchup in the past. They went head-to-head three times last season and all three were thrillers. Hurkacz prevailed 6-3, 5-7, 6-7(13), 7-6(5), 6-4 on the red clay of the French Open, Griekspoor pulled off a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(8) grass-court upset in Halle, and Hurkacz won 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 on an indoor hard court in Basel.

Both men got through three-setters in their Rotterdam openers. Hurkacz saved three match points to beat Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 6-7(9), 7-6(9); Griekspoor fought off one while defeating Lorenzo Musetti 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(3). The world No. 30 generally plays well in front of his Dutch crowd, but he was a bit out of sorts against Musetti. Griekspoor will have to raise his level against Hurkacz, who is in fine form and a bear to deal with on indoor hard courts.

Pick: Hurkacz in 3

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