Australian Open Day 6 Men’s Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreno Busta

David Goffin at the Australian Open

After a series of stunning upsets on day five at Melbourne Park, day six at the Australian Open will see the top half of the men’s draw battle for a place in the second week. A number of star names will be in action in the Victorian capital and as ever we here at Last Word on Tennis will be offering our predictions across the board, including the intriguing match-up between home hope Nick Kyrgios and 16th seed Karen Khachanov. Giving their picks for this slate of matches are Jim Smith, Damian Kust and Harsh Bhoot. But who will reach the fourth round?

Australian Open Day 6 Predictions

Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreno Busta

Jim: Rafael Nadal has made a formidable start to his Australian Open campaign, with the apparently slower conditions perhaps helping him. But he will face his first real test in Melbourne up against his countryman Pablo Carreno Busta. The 27th seed has played well so far himself and although he has never beaten Nadal in four meetings, his world-class backhand could cause Nadal some problems. But probably not enough to delay the world #1 for long.

Prediction: Nadal in 4

Damian: Although Nadal hasn’t been particularly convincing thus far, he’s dominated this matchup in the past and should be expected to do it again. Carreno Busta doesn’t have the power to hit Nadal off the court and even if he somehow manages to extend the match, Nadal’s endurance should be able to outlast him.

Prediction: Nadal in 3

Harsh: The world #1 went three for 20 on breakpoints against Delbonis, but apart from that, it was a solid performance. Carreno Busta has also looked in decent form in Melbourne but he’s never beaten Nadal before and it’s hard to see him doing it here considering how dominant Nadal was on serve against Delbonis. Expect pulsating rallies with Nadal slowly breaking down the defences of Carreno Busta.

Prediction: Nadal in 3
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Gael Monfils vs Ernests Gulbis

Jim: Ernests Gulbis, for all his inconsistency, is a superbly gifted player and he has shown as much at the Australian Open, storming through the qualifying and into the third round. But he faces in Gael Monfils a player who is surely his superior in both talent and application. To make matters worse for the Latvian, he has lost to Monfils in all three of their previous meetings. Gulbis is good enough to keep it competitive, but this is a match the Frenchman should win.

Prediction: Monfils in 4

Damian: It can be hard to believe that Gulbis was once a top 10 player, but the Latvian has started 2020 well. Monfils was tested by Ivo Karlovic in the second round and had to dig deep to take a tight four-setter. There should be a lot more extended rallies in this one, which looks set to be a thriller. But the Frenchman is that much steadier.

Prediction: Monfils in 5

Harsh: Gulbis so far has been pretty solid, with his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime particularly impressive. At his best, Gulbis can cause real problems, but Monfils is a great counter-puncher and can go toe-to-toe with Gulbis from the baseline. The Latvian is 0-3 against Monfils and provided the Frenchman can rein in his error count, Monfils stands as the favorite. That being said, Gulbis won’t let this match slip easily and expect the clash to be full of momentum shifts, with the Frenchman eventually clinching it.

Prediction: Monfils in 5
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Daniil Medvedev vs Alexei Popyrin

Jim: Alexei Popyrin is enjoying another fine run at the Australian Open and has now successfully defended the points he earned in Melbourne last year, no mean feat for the young gun. But it is hard to see him making it to the second week against Daniil Medvedev. The Russian looks the most likely man outside the Big Three to claim the title this fortnight and he should be able to dispose of the big-hitting Australian easily enough.

Prediction: Medvedev in 3

Damian: Having the crowd against you can make it difficult for any player, but if there is one equipped to handle it, it is Medvedev, who played public enemy during much of the US Open. Popyrin is back to the third round for the second round. Last year, he extended Lucas Pouille to five,  but I don’t see how the young Australian can hurt the Russian off the ground.

Prediction: Medvedev in 3

Harsh: Popyrin has a ton of potential and talent, but will it be enough against the Russian? Medvedev was at his consistent best in the second round while the Australian dominated against Jaume Munar. The Russian’s defences are hard to breach, so Popyrin will have sustain his aggression throughout to have any chance from the baseline, but that’s easier said than done against Medvedev. Expect Popyrin to put up a valiant fight and possibly take a set, but for Medvedev to prove too strong.

Prediction: Medvedev in 4
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David Goffin vs Andrey Rublev

Jim: David Goffin made hard work of things against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, throwing away a commanding two-set lead before rallying to win in the decider. Might that prove costly against Andrey Rublev? The Russian has made a great start to the year, having won all 14 matches he has played, picking up titles in Doha and Adelaide. He also beat Goffin in their only previous meeting in straight-sets. Expect the rematch to be closer, but for the result to be the same.

Prediction: Rublev in 5

Damian: This could be the most interesting clash of the third round. Goffin excelled at the ATP Cup, even beating Nadal. But Rublev is riding a 14-match winning streak, dating back to the start of the Davis Cup Finals in November. The Russian shows no signs of slowing down and despite all the tennis he’s played lately. Maybe fatigue will become an issue if it goes to five, but with Goffin’s shaky second round performance and how well Rublev is playing, I don’t see it lasting that long.

Prediction: Rublev in 4

Harsh: Goffin almost let his two sets to love lead slip against Herbert before regrouping and winning the fifth set. The Belgian knows full well he can ill afford to do that when he takes on the in-form player of 2020 in Rublev. Apart from the second set in his first round, the Russian has been solid and aggressive. Goffin served 12 double faults against Herbert which won’t help his confidence. Rublev will look to put pressure on Goffin’s serve, but the Belgian knows his strengths well and has beaten heavy aggressive baseliners before. But Rublev is playing well enough, that he should come through.

Prediction: Rublev in 4

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