For the second slam running, Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev will face each other. The young Russian was a shock winner at the US Open, winning in straight sets on his way to a career best quarter final at a grand slam. He was defeated by eventual winner Rafael Nadal at that stage but the run put people on notice and helped him on his way to a first time slam seeding.
Dimitrov was almost not going to get the chance at revenge against Rublev, having needed to go into extras in the deciding set against Mackenzie Mcdonald. It seemed like Dimitrov’s 2 opening rounds would be a piece of cake given that he would play 2 qualifiers to begin but Mcdonald had other ideas, forcing a 5th set after bagelling the Bulgarian in the 4th. Dimitrov was relieved to get through and praised his American opponent after the match. “I have to give him credit. He came out there and started swinging. Played an unbelievable first set. There was honestly not much I could have done. He was serving well, close to the lines, swinging freely, coming to the net, trying to play a different game,” Dimitrov said.
Meanwhile, Rublev has showcased some top quality tennis during his 2 matches so far but his temperament may have been a contributing factor in why he needed 5 sets and 4 sets respectively against veterans David Ferrer and Marcos Baghdatis. Up 5-2 in the 4th set against Ferrer, he was broken twice in succession and would need to come from a break down in the decider. Against Baghdatis, he was a set up and in control of the second set tiebreak before being forced to come through a scrappy 4 setter.
With a potentially tired opponent, Rublev will fancy his chances of pulling off the upset in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. The Russian has all the shotmaking ability to do so but will need to remain patient against an opponent who can frustrate him.
Prediction – Andrey Rublev in 5 sets