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Hamburg Open 2020: Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire preview, head-to-head & prediction

Benoit Paire
Benoit Paire
Rudra Biswas
ANALYST
Modified 22 Sep 2020, 21:25 IST
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Match details

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

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Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six

Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire preview

Casper Ruud lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Italian Open.
Casper Ruud lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Italian Open.

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.

That clearly paid off for the World No. 34 at the Foro Italico, as he beat the likes of Marin Cilic, Matteo Berrettini and Karen Khachanov to reach the final four.

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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

Benoit Paire has had a tumultuous 2020 season.
Benoit Paire has had a tumultuous 2020 season.

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.

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Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire prediction

Casper Ruud hits a forehand.
Casper Ruud hits a forehand.

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
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