Fixture: Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud
Date: 19 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 12.00 pm CEST, 3.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud preview
After a hard-fought win over compatriot Stefano Travaglia, local favorite Matteo Berrettini will take on Norwegian star Casper Ruud in the Italian Open quarterfinals on Saturday.
Berrettini looked in sensational touch against Federico Coria in the second round, cruising through without much trouble. However, he was considerably less sharp on Friday as he was taken to two tiebreakers by the unseeded Travaglia.
Moreover, the Italian wouldn't have fond memories of facing Casper Ruud on clay; the 21-year-old had beaten Berrettini in the second round of the French Open last year.
Ruud has been on a bit of a roll in Rome too. He ousted the 11th seed Karen Khachanov in the opening round, and on Friday registered a convincing victory over former US Open champion Marin Cilic.
Casper is ranked No. 34 in the world right now with an impressive win-loss record of 16-7 in 2020, and he would be looking to make a breakthrough at a big event. Before the COVID-19 break, Ruud had captured his maiden ATP title at Buenos Aires, beating Pedro Sousa in the final.
The Norwegian then made it to the third round of the US Open, where he incidentally lost to Matteo Berrettini. Ruud would be keen to avenge that defeat when he locks horns with his Italian rival once again.
Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud head-to-head
Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud are currently tied at 1-1 in the head-to-head. As mentioned above, the two European rising stars have met at two different Grand Slam events over the last one year.
The first meeting ended in Ruud's favor, as he beat Berrettini in straight sets at Roland Garros 2019. Berrettini then knocked the Norwegian out of the 2020 US Open a few weeks ago.
Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud prediction
Even though Matteo Berrettini is yet to beat Casper Ruud on clay, this matchup seems fairly even on paper.
Berrettini struggled a bit against Travaglia, but he is the fourth-seeded player in this competition for a reason. Despite his inconsistent return, the Italian's powerful serve - which can touch the 230 km/h mark - has held him in good stead even on the slow surface. Berrettini's forehand is a formidable weapon too, and he can use it to hit through any opponent.
Ruud meanwhile seems to have a game tailor-made for clay. He can hold his own from the baseline with his topspin-heavy groundstrokes, and is quick enough to retrieve the big shots of his opponents.
This match could end up being a thrilling affair, but if Berrettini's serve and forehand are working he should be expected to come through.
Prediction: Matteo Berrettini to win in three sets.