Fixture: Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik
Date: 7 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,614,465
Match timing: Not before 7 pm local time, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik preview
Casper Ruud produced a sensational performance in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open 2021 on Thursday, which gave him his maiden victory over a top 5 player. Ruud defeated World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach his second Masters 1000 quarterfinal of the season.
The Norwegian will next face Alexander Bublik, who beat Aslan Karatsev in straight sets on Thursday. Bublik has equalled his best ever performance at a Masters event by making it to the last eight here at Madrid.
The Kazakh has been in decent form this season, reaching his third ATP final at Antalya after defeating Mareo Berretini along the way. Bublik also finished as the runner-up in Singapore, before making it to his first ever Masters 1000 quarterfinal at the Miami Open.
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik head-to-head
Casper Ruud leads the head-to-head against Alexander Bublik by a margin of 1-0. Their only meeting was in the first round of the 2019 St. Petersburg Open, where the Norwegian made a comeback from a set down to win 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2.
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik prediction
Casper Ruud enters the match as the favorite on paper, given his recent form and ranking. However, he should expect a tough fight from Alexander Bublik, who is in pursuit of his first-ever Masters 1000 semifinal.
Ruud was dominant on his serve in the match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, not providing a single break point opportunity to the Greek in either of the two sets. The Norwegian won 80% of his first serve points and was taken to deuce only once in his 12 service games.
The commanding win would have given Ruud some much-needed confidence, after having lost to lower-ranked opponents in his previous two tournaments.
Alexander Bublik, who had just one red clay match win this season prior to arriving in Madrid, has definitely been the surprise package of the tournament. The young Kazakh will now try to emulate his match-winning performances against Denis Shapovalov and Aslan Karatsev by upsetting Casper Ruud too.
The serve of both players will play a crucial role in this match. While Ruud was impeccable in that area on Thursday, the usually big-serving Kazakh coughed up nine double faults against Karatsev.
Ruud will have a surface advantage in this match as clay suits his game. Bublik, on the other hand, calls clay his least favorite surface.
It will be interesting to see how the two youngsters go about their bid of reaching their maiden Madrid semifinal. Ruud will likely look to dictate the pace of the rallies with his topspin-heavy groundstrokes, while Bublik would be well-served by keeping the points as short as possible.
The Kazakh can certainly entertain the crowds with his powerful and unpredictable shot-making, but Ruud has the upper hand given his comfort level in these conditions.
Prediction: Casper Ruud to win in straight sets.