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Russia's Andrey Rublev celebrates after defeating Belgium's David Goffin in their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Russia's Andrey Rublev celebrates after defeating Belgium's David Goffin in their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)|Associated Press
Tennis

Australian Open Men's Picks: Nadal v Kyrgios, Thiem v Monfils, Medvedev v Wawrinka, Rublev v Zverev, Federer v Fucsovics, Raonic v Cilic

Men's Round of 16. Federer vs Fucsovics goes off at 4:15 am EST.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Australian Open

Men’s Round of 16

Nadal over Kyrgios

This will be a great one, especially with Nick playing for national pride as the destructive fires come rolling across the Australian prairies. But Nadal is the consistently better player, and he’ll show it here under pressure.

Thiem over Monfils

If Monfils is ever going to show that he’s going to make a run at Thiem, this would be the time, but I sincerely doubt that’s going to happen. Thiem is solid as a rock.

Medvedev over Wawrinka

It appeared that going into the 2019 U.S. Open Stan Wawrinka was making a comeback and was poised to make a move that might push him into the Top 8 or so. Unfortunately, his draw put him up against the newest up-and-comer, and this will separate the comers (Medvedev) and the goers (Wawrinka). Let’s just say that Medvedev has age, shotmaking, height, strength, shot angles, and more going for him.

Rublev over Zverev

About 16 months ago, Zverev was hitting his stride and appeared to be the next “big man on campus”. No more. Zverev may have missed his big chance, and Rublev’s strong groundstrokes and serves could show why. Unless a miracle strikes in Zverev’s favor, he’ll be known as an “almost did it” player.

Federer over Fucsovics

Federer showed both his brilliance and his competitiveness by taking out Millman when the 39-year-old Swiss was on the ropes and Fucsovics showed he was in strong form beating American Tommy Paul in straight sets.

Raonic over Cilic

Cilic will never get back to the form he showed five years ago when he put it all together and won the U.S. Open. Nonetheless, he’s a brilliant shotmaker; he’s just not the champion we all expected him to be when he walked away with the big trophy from New York City. If he pockets another Grand Slam trophy color me surprised.