Fixture: (6) Casper Ruud vs (30) Alexander Bublik
Date: 27 March 2022
Tournament: Miami Open
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: Miami, Florida, USA
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: $8,584,055
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Voot
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik preview
Sixth seed Casper Ruud takes on 30th seed Alexander Bublik in the third round of the Miami Masters on Saturday.
The Norwegian started the year by winning two out of three singles matches in what was a pretty disappointing ATP Cup for his nation. After missing the Australian Open due to injury, Ruud competed in the Argentina Open as the top seed. He won the tournament by beating Diego Schwartzman in the final.
Ruud represented Norway in their Davis Cup qualifying tie against Kazakhstan and won against Mikhail Kukushkin. However, he lost to Bublik, thus putting paid to his country's chances of reaching the finals.
The 23-year-old then entered the Indian Wells Masters as the eighth seed and reached the third round after beating Christopher Eubanks. However, he was beaten by Aussie wildcard Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.
Ruud was seeded sixth at the Miami Masters and reached the third round of the competition after defeating Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-2.
Bublik started 2022 with an opening-round exit in the Adelaide International 2. He followed this by reaching the second round of the Australian Open before losing to Gael Monfils.
The Kazakh then reached the final of the Open Sud de France after beating Tallon Griekspoor, Pierre Hugues Herbert, Roberto Bautista Agut and Filip Krajinovic. Bublik shocked Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-3 to win the tournament and earn his first title.
Following an opening-round exit in the Rotterdam Open, the 24-year-old lost in the second round of the Qatar Open and later, the opening round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Bublik reached the third round of the Indian Wells Masters after beating Andy Murray. However, he lost to Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.
Bublik was seeded 30th in the Miami Masters and started with a win over Colombian Daniel Galan despite being a set down.
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik head-to-head
Saturday's match in Miami will be the fifth meeting between the two players. Ruud currently leads the head-to-head 3-1, having won all of their first three meetings. However, Bublik beat the Norwegian in their most recent encounter in the Davis Cup qualifiers.
The winner of this match takes on tenth seed Cameron Norrie or Hugo Gaston in the fourth round.
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik prediction
Ruud will be the favorite to win the match but Bublik should not be written off givenn his qualities and unpredictability.
The Norwegian has not had the most impressive record on hard courts in 2022 so far, but it's only a matter of time before we see his record on the surface get better. He's improved his hardcourt game immensely, getting his first title on the surface in San Diego last year.
Ruud will look to dictate the game from the baseline and trouble Bublik. The Norwegian often looks to tire his opponents out and will be eager to do the same on Saturday. His return game will also be put to the test, given that Bublik is among the best servers on tour.
The Kazakh will rely heavily on his service games while looking for the odd decisive break. We could also see an underarm serve or two from him. Bublik will also have to be careful with his serve to not serve too many defaults. He served 13 of them in his last match.
Ruud will have to be as aggressive as he can to get the better of Bublik and in the end, he should be able to do that and reach the fourth round.
Prediction: Ruud to win in straight sets.