ATP Finals 2021: Andrey Rublev vs Casper Ruud preview, head-to-head & prediction

Andrey Rublev needs a win to ensure his place in the knockout stages.
Andrey Rublev needs a win to ensure his place in the knockout stages.
Vedant Chandel

Match details

Fixture: (5) Andrey Rublev vs (8) Casper Ruud

Date: 19 November 2021

Tournament: Nitto ATP Finals 2021

Round: Round robin (Green group)

Venue: Turin, Italy

Category: Year-ending championships

Surface: Hardcourt

Prize money: $7,250,000

Andrey Rublev vs Casper Ruud preview

Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud will lock horns in the final round-robin match of the Green Group at the 2021 ATP Finals on Friday

Rublev started his campaign with a thumping win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, before suffering a straight-sets defeat by Novak Djokovic. Nevertheless, he is in prime position to qualify for the semifinals for the first time in his career.

The Russian, who failed to make it past the round-robin stage last year, will seal a berth in the last-four with a win against Ruud.

Casper Ruud lost his opener to Novak Djokovic.
Casper Ruud lost his opener to Novak Djokovic.

Ruud, meanwhile, started off with a loss to Novak Djokovic, but showed incredible fighting skills in his next match against Cameron Norrie. The Norwegian dropped the first set 6-1 but hit back to take the next two and seal the win after nearly two hours on court.

Andrey Rublev vs Casper Ruud head-to-head

Andrey Rublev leads Casper Ruud in their current head-to-head by a comfortable 4-0 margin. The Russian has beaten the Norwegian twice this year.

Andrey Rublev vs Casper Ruud prediction

Rublev's serve will be key to his chances of winning.
Rublev's serve will be key to his chances of winning.

Given the head-to-head record, Andrey Rublev will enter this contest as the firm favorite. The Russian came into the tournament struggling for form, but looks to have found his feet on the indoor hardcourts in Turin.

Rublev's big serve and powerful groundstrokes have worked well so far. He dismantled Tsitsipas in his opener, but struggled to hit through Djokovic in the last match. The Russian lacked patience from the back of the court and leaked a few too many unforced errors.

Ruud is also a solid baseliner but he lacks the speed and flexibility that Djokovic possesses, so Rublev will fancy his chances of outmuscling the Norwegian from the baseline.

Ruud, on his part, will need to rely on his serve and forehand to do most of the heavy lifting. The Norwegian played an uncharacteristically defensive opening set against Norrie, but managed to raise his level -- he averaged a much higher forehand speed in the second and third sets -- to take control of the contest.

The Norwegian will need to step out on court with a similarly aggressive approach against Rublev. He cannot afford to set up camp behind the baseline and allow Rublev to control the points.

That is easier said than done though. The Russian possesses tremendous firepower and if he can keep a check on the unforced errors, he should be able to post his fifth straight win over Ruud and book a spot in the semifinals.

Prediction: Andrey Rublev to win in two tight sets

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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