Fixture: Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire
Date: 23 September 2020
Tournament: Hamburg European Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Hamburg, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,062,520
Match timing: 10.30 am CEST, 2 pm IS
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire preview
World No. 34 Casper Ruud will be looking to build on his success at the Rome Masters when he takes on Benoit Paire in their opening round match at the 2020 Hamburg Open.
The Norwegian has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2020, having won his maiden ATP tour title in Buenos Aires before another appearance in a final in Santiago. Ruud has also been training extensively at Rafael Nadal's tennis academy.
The heavy-hitting Ruud then had World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on the ropes in the first set of their semifinal match, before Djokovic restored parity and ran away with the match in the end. However, Ruud will have only positives to take from his week at the Italian Open, and he arrives in Hamburg with immense confidence.
Benoit Paire, on the other hand, has had a completely different season compared to his Norwegian opponent. The World No. 24 tested positive for COVID-19 one day prior to the start of the US Open, prompting the organizers to withdraw him from the tournament.
Paire's season then got even worse as he suffered a spectacular meltdown during his first-round loss to Jannik Sinner in Rome.
That said, the Frenchman is a player to watch out for on clay if he is disciplined. In 2019, Paire reigned as the champion at the Lyon Open before an inspiring run at the French Open. The 31-year-old reached the fourth round in Paris before losing a five-set thriller to Kei Nishikori.
Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire head-to-head
The match between Casper Ruud and Benoit Paire at the 2020 Hamburg Open marks the first meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire prediction
Casper Ruud's game is tailor-made for clay, with a Nadal-esque heavy forehand. The Norwegian is also quick on his feet and is capable of tirelessly retrieving his opponents' shots and sending them back.
The only worrying aspect of the World No. 34's game happens to be his underpowered backhand.
Paire on the other hand does not have a great forehand, but he has one of the best backhands in the world. The Frenchman also has the ability to mix up the play with slices and drop shots, while occasionally charging the net even on clay - an odd but successful tactic.
The World No. 24 would've ordinarily found himself at a disadvantage against the Norwegian's topspin-heavy game, but it is possible that Ruud might be gassed from his exploits at the Rome Masters. If Paire can take advantage of that, he would be in a good position to get the W.
Prediction: Benoit Paire to win in three sets.Published 21 Sep 2020, 18:44 IST