Fixture: Casper Ruud vs Ugo Humbert
Date: 25 September 2020
Tournament: Hamburg European Open 2020
Venue: Hamburg, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,062,520
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm CEST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Casper Ruud vs Ugo Humbert preview
World No. 30 Casper Ruud faces off against the in-form Ugo Humbert for a place in the semifinals of the Hamburg European Open on Friday.
The 21-year-old Norwegian has had a breakthrough 2020 season, with a number of firsts. He followed up his maiden ATP title in Buenos Aires early in the year with a runner-up finish in Santiago.
Ruud has been in solid form post the lockdown too, reaching the third round at the US Open. His best result of the year, however, came at the Italian Open earlier this month where he reached the semifinal.
The Norwegian defeated the likes of Marin Cilic, Karen Khachanov and home favorite Matteo Berrettini before bowing out to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. Ruud has carried his good form into Hamburg too, where he's looked spotless in the first two rounds.
Ruud next opponent, France's Ugo Humbert, has himself had an upswing of form in 2020. The 22-year-old started the year in excellent fashion, winning his first ATP title in Auckland, but struggled a bit on the American hardcourts post lockdown.
On European clay, however, the Frenchman has looked like a formidable force. After a hard-fought third-round loss at the hands of Denis Shapovalov in Rome, Humbert swept past World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-3 in the first round at Hamburg, in what was arguably his best performance of the year.
It was more of the same in the next round for Humbert, as the Frenchman beat Jiri Vesely in a routine straight-sets win.
Casper Ruud vs Ugo Humbert head-to-head
This will be the second meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour; and Ugo Humbert currently leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Casper Ruud.
Humbert defeated Ruud in a tightly-contested semifinal at Auckland earlier this year, prevailing 7-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Casper Ruud vs Ugo Humbert prediction
Both players come into the match in excellent form, which makes this quarterfinal a particularly difficult one to call.
Casper Ruud has used his topspin-laden groundstrokes and quick movement on the court to overcome a multitude of challenges on the red dirt so far. Ruud has one of the heaviest forehands on the men's tour right now, and he uses this weapon well to shorten rallies when required.
Ugo Humbert, on the other hand, has been in the form of his life. His aggressive mindset and strong groundstrokes have put pressure on most of his opponents in long exchanges. Although he does not boast the power of Ruud off the forehand wing, the Frenchman does use his lefty angles to great effect.
Ruud's return of serve has been excellent on clay this year, and that could be the key to unlocking this match. Humbert often uses his solid first serve to stay with his opponents on slower surfaces, but if Ruud can nullify that play then he would have a great chance of progressing to the semifinals.
Prediction: Casper Ruud to win in three sets.Published 25 Sep 2020, 01:33 IST