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FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot to John Millman, of Australia, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Federer is ranked No. 3 leading into the U.S. Open, where he won the most recent of his five titles there in 2008. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot to John Millman, of Australia, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Federer is ranked No. 3 leading into the U.S. Open, where he won the most recent of his five titles there in 2008. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)|Associated Press
Tennis

U.S. Open men's 3rd round Part 1: Abrams picks Nishikori vs de Minaur, Federer vs Evans, Wawrinka vs Lorenzi, Basilashvili vs Koepfer

Matches start Friday at 11 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

2019 U.S. Open

Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY

Men’s Third Round picks

Friday, August 30, 2019

Kei Nishikori over Alex de Minaur

The Demon will have his day here in the Big Apple, but today won’t be it. Nishikori is still the better player, although, at age 29, the valiant man from Japan is starting to get long in the tooth based on how he plays. His game depends on great wheels, the speed of Flash, and the will of steel, and that’s a tough way to spend a career on the professional tennis tour, especially if you start it at age 17. The Demon plays similarly, although he mixes things up a little more. His game should last longer than Nishikori’s, but today, de Minaur is the second fiddle.

Roger Federer over Dan Evans

Dan Evans, the 29-year-old Brit, took out Lucas Pouille in a bit of a surprise with an efficient four-set win. Now he plays The Legend, whom he’s never beaten. There’s a lot to be said about Federer, going back 15 years or longer, but let’s just keep it current: The Fed has won all six sets they’ve played, and Evans sports a 2019 record of 15-13 after his two wins here, while Federer is 41-6 in 2019 alone. Who would you pick?

Stan Wawrinka over Paolo Lorenzi

Paolo Lorenzi is very lucky to be here. As a lucky loser, replacing the injured Kevin Anderson, Lorenzi was down two sets to none in the first round to 16-year-old U.S. National Junior champion Zach Svajda, when the 130-pound Californian started to cramp in the third set. Lorenzi won that set and then eked out a fourth set tiebreaker, before putting away the adolescent, who was having trouble walking by then, in the fifth. Lorenzi then won another five-setter over Miomir Kecmanovic to set up this meeting. He’ll be thrilled to take home his $165,000 after losing to Stan Wawrinka, whom he’s never taken a set off in three tries.

Nikolaz Basilashvili over Dominic Koepfer

Nikolaz Basilashvili needed four close sets to finally subdue the 2018 National Junior champ, Jenson Brooksby in Round Two, but should actually have an easier time against German Tulane-grad Dominik Koepfer, who simply destroyed Reilly Opelka in three sets late Wednesday night. Basilashvili is nothing if not inconsistent, but when he’s on, he’s a very dangerous player. Koepfer will compete, but Basilashvili has too many ways to hurt him.

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