Date: 31 July 2021
Tournament: Truist Atlanta Open 2021
Venue: Atlanta, United States
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hard
Prize money: $555,995
Match timing: Not before 3 pm local time, 7 pm GMT, 12.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN & Tennis Channel
Brandon Nakashima vs Emil Ruusuvuori preview
American rising star Brandon Nakashima will take on Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori in the semifinals of the 2021 Atlanta Open on Saturday. While Nakashima ground out a 7-6(5), 7-5 win over Jordan Thompson, Ruusuvuori upset third seed Cameron Norrie 7-6(1), 6-3 to advance to the last four.
Nakashima has been a regular on the Challenger tour for a while now. He has bagged two titles so far, including one in France that he won earlier this year.
Nakashima progressed to his maiden ATP final last week in Los Cabos, where he lost to Cameron Norrie.
Having entered the year at No. 166 in the world, the 19-year-old has seen a rapid rise in the ranking lately. As a result of his stunning week in Atlanta, Nakashima is slated to crack the top 100 rankings for the first time on Monday.
The American clinched a sensational victory over top seed Milos Raonic en route to the semifinals, and will fancy his chances of making a second final on the trot.
Emil Ruusuvuori, meanwhile, has had a fairly positive season himself thus far. At the Australian Open, he pulled off an epic victory over 10th seed Gael Monfils. He then went on to upset World No. 7 Alexander Zverev en route to the last 16 of the Miami Open.
The Finnish player has won three Challenger titles in his career, and looks on the cusp of breaking through on the pro tour too. Having beaten third seed Cameron Norrie in the previous round, Ruusuvuori will be bidding to go all the way this week for his maiden ATP title.
Brandon Nakashima vs Emil Ruusuvuori head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Brandon Nakashima and Emil Ruusuvuori, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Brandon Nakashima vs Emil Ruusuvuori prediction
At No. 78, Emil Ruusuvuori's significant ranking advantage over Brandon Nakashima makes him a slight favorite for this encounter. But Nakashima has been riding a wave of confidence lately, and can be expected to make things difficult for the Finn on Saturday.
Both men possess a strong serve, and have hit several aces in their previous matches without conceding too many double faults. But Ruusuvuori tends to have a higher first serve percentage, and will look to bank on that advantage in the semifinals.
Nakashima on his part will try to rip through his opponent's defenses by using his heavy groundstrokes effectively. But the American coughs up reckless unforced errors at times, which is something Ruusuvuori will look to use in his favor.
The 22-year-old's relative experience might help him sail him across the finish line, especially if things get tight.
Prediction: Emil Ruusuvuori to win in straight sets.