Fixture: Jannik Sinner vs Casper Ruud
Date: 28 October 2020
Tournament: Erste Bank Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Vienna, Austria
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €1,409,510
Match timing: Not before 2 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony ESPN
Jannik Sinner vs Casper Ruud preview
The 46th edition of the Vienna Open will have two of the season's most successful youngsters squaring off in a mouthwatering first-round clash.
Jannik Sinner, the 19-year-old Italian who made his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the recently concluded French Open, was awarded a wildcard into the main draw. He will be looking to make his presence felt in a packed field.
Things will not be easy for the teenager though as Casper Ruud, the No. 1 Norwegian and fellow NextGen star, awaits him at the very first hurdle.
Ruud has made steady progress over the last 12 months or so. And at No. 25, he now finds himself as the highest ranked men's singles player from his country ever.
The Norwegian had a stellar start to the season, with solid performances at the ATP Cup and a title in Argentina. His run was interrupted by the COVID-19 induced suspension, but Ruud did reasonably well to sustain his form on the resumption of the tour.
Barring his shocking first-round loss in Antwerp last week, he has looked to be in good touch. That said, the one thing that still seems to be missing from the Norwegian's game is self-belief, especially against the top seeds and big-match players.
In that sense, his first round encounter against Sinner - someone who fits the latter billing well - presents a unique opportunity for course correction for Ruud.
Jannik Sinner vs Casper Ruud head-to-head
This will be the first time that the two players cross paths on the tour, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Jannik Sinner vs Casper Ruud prediction
Despite being the higher ranked of the two, Casper Ruud enters the matchup as an underdog. As mentioned before, the Norwegian has a dismal record against big-hitting players, and while he did manage to buck the trend against the likes of Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini this year, he might it tough against his opponent on Tuesday.
The wins against Fognini and Berrettini came on clay. But the hardcourts in Vienna are anything but slow, and Jannik Sinner is not nearly as volatile as the likes of his fellow Italians.
The teenager has shown incredible restraint during his recent matches, which is a welcome surprise for someone his age.
The conditions will be in favor of the 19-year-old, and unless Ruud comes out looking to take control, he might find himself scrambling more than he would like. The young Norwegian has made great use of defensive prowess in recent months, but he will need to inculcate a more proactive approach into his game sooner or later.
It will probably take a few more lopsided defeats for Ruud to realize the importance of moving out of his comfort zone. For now though, it seems to be advantage Sinner in this one.
Prediction: Jannik Sinner to win in straight sets.Published 26 Oct 2020, 12:12 IST