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Australian Open Round of 16 Predictions Including Alex de Minaur vs Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic Australian Open Round 3

An all-American clash between Ben Shelton and JJ Wolf, and home Australian Alex de Minaur taking on Novak Djokovic highlight round of 16 matches at the Australian Open. Our panelists offer their predictions for every match as the second week of the Australian Open rolls on.

Andrey Rublev vs Holger Rune

Damian Kust: Both players seem to be in excellent form and this should be a stunning match. Rune was a bit of a question mark going into the event in regards to whether he’ll be able to just carry on with his 2023 form. He’s done that and compared to Rublev, he’s got no exploitable weaknesses like the Russian’s second serve and backhand. Rune in 4

Jack Edward: Andrey Rublev should be given some credit. His pre-tournament form was poor but he showed he is the far superior player against all but the best players in the world. Unfortunately for Rublev, I think it’s early enough days to call Holger Rune one of the best players in the world – he’s marched through his first three rounds audaciously without dropping a set. Even if he picks up a set or two, it’s tough to see Rublev’s Slam woes coming to an end here. Rune in 4

Steen Kirby: Rune won their only meeting, which came in Paris indoors at the end of the season. Both players have been firing on all cylinders, Rublev has dropped only one set, Rune has dropped none, and the only real concern for him was the fall he took that may have injured his wrist in the third round. This top 10 battle features players with tons of talent and weaponry on hard courts. Rublev at his best is a world beater, but assuming he’s fit, Rune is the more reliable player. I’ll go with the streaky upside and back the Russian. Rublev in 5

Alex de Minaur vs Novak Djokovic

Damian: Djokovic was pushed by Dimitrov and responded. It’s all about the hamstring injury though and we’ll see if that becomes more of a factor as the week goes on. For now, this is a matchup where his movement will also be tested by the sheer foot speed and consistency of de Minaur. The Australian doesn’t have enough to threaten Djokovic if he’s fit enough. Djokovic in 4

Jack: We all know everyone’s pick here. It’s a matter of how difficult Alex De Minaur can make it for Djokovic and whether or not the Serb is hampered by his hamstring injury. It’s interesting they haven’t played before because the rally temperament of De Minaur could actually pose some proper resistance against Djokovic’s point construction, injury or not. I therefore think it’ll be a tough match but Djokovic will ultimately keep his tenth title dream alive. Djokovic in 4

Steen: de Minaur has dropped just one set in three matches, Australian home slam hopes rest on his shoulders. He’ll face Djokovic, who has started the season without a loss and is truly back in business in Australia. de Minaur will need to back himself, but his odds of beating Djokovic honestly look quite low unless Djokovic is injured, de Minaur doesn’t have the game to threaten Djokovic under normal circumstances, as Djokovic should feast on his serve. Djokovic in 3

Ben Shelton vs JJ Wolf

Damian: What an exciting, fresh matchup. Both players just blast the ball on their serves and forehands, but Wolf does it with his right hand, Shelton with his left. The younger of the two is the bigger prospect and despite lacking Grand Slam experience, he’s been handling the big stage incredibly well. Shelton in 4

Jack: A Challenger final brought to the fourth-round of a Slam? These two have shown they’re more than fit for the ATP however, Ben Shelton a fast rising star and J.J. Wolf having shown he has the serve and fitness to compete with the best in the business. Some might say it’s too early in Shelton’s career but I’m erring towards the gung-ho play style of the youngster – Wolf is a fighter but Shelton is something special. Shelton in 4

Steen: Both players have reached the second week of the Australian Open without beating anyone famous, and neither has been in extremely stressful matches.  Wolf’s experience seems valuable here in what is uncharted territory for both Americans who came through the NCAA College tennis circuit. I do expect quite the battle. Wolf in 5

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Tommy Paul

Damian: This one feels very tough to predict. Bautista Agut is past his prime, especially when it comes to his physicality, and that could prove key after two extremely long battles. Paul is also the kind of opponent who could exploit that with his athleticism and consistency. Paul in 5

Jack: Tommy Paul could pose a real problem for Roberto Bautista Agut here. The American is one of the most talented players on the tour and will be able to counter the consistency of Bautista Agut with some excellent moves forward. The slower conditions will even things out somewhat but Paul should be considered the favourite. Paul in 5

Steen: Bautista Agut won the first three meetings, until Paul got the best of him last year in Paris to end the season. Bautista Agut came back from two sets down in the second round, and then eased past an exhausted Andy Murray in round 3. Paul put together a scintillating performance against his countryman Jenson Brooksby in the third round. Paul has been really impressive in Melbourne through three matches and should keep up his winning ways, Bautista Agut has benefited from a weakened draw to make it this far, even though he did reach the final in Adelaide and is one of the toughest players on the ATP Tour to break down. Paul in 4

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