Casper RUUD vs Alexander BUBLIK | ATP Madrid Open 2021 Preview | Head-to-Head and Prediction
This will be a mouthwatering clash between two youngsters on the backs of unpredictable upsets. Casper Ruud took out the number 4 seed and Monte Carlo Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets with an incredible display of consistent baseline tennis. He showed his mental by seizing the only break point between the Greek and himself to take what would be a deciding second set. Bublik took out the unseeded but equally dangerous Aslan Karatsev with acute variety and his own devastating backhand. The winner of this match will be the one who can capitalize the most on their strengths.
- Ruud leads the head to head 1-0 (Last match: Ruud d. Bublik @ St. Petersburg Open 2019)
- Ruud is 12-5 in 2021, with a notable straight-sets win against Tsitsipas
- Bublik is 16-11 in 2021, with a notable three-set win against Shapovalov
- Ruud is 10-3 on clay in 2021
- Bublik is 4-3 on clay in 2021
Casper Ruud is in fine form, as he has made the semis in the last two clay court events he has played. He needs to stand back on the return of serve (beware the underarm serve, however) and force Bublik to come up with powerful, accurate groundstrokes to win the points. The courts are faster in Madrid, so Ruud can flatten out some of his forehands to win points quicker.
Round 1 | def. Auger-Aliassime 6-1 6-4
Round 2 | def. Nishioka 6-1 6-2
Round 3 | def. Tsitsipas 7-6 (4) 6-4
ALEXANDER BUBLIK- KEYS TO THE MATCH
Bublik will need to bring the variety to restrict Ruud’s rhythm as soon as possible. This could mean drop shots, net charges and even the underarm serve. His backhand down the line should serve as his main weapon against Ruud, which will be boosted by the faster clay courts in Madrid. If he can also maintain a high serve-percentage, he can prove a mighty challenge for the Norwegian.
Although Bublik has his talents, as well as his sniper shot of a backhand, it’s hard to see him coming away with this match. Ruud has displayed fine consistency and mental strength in the previous clay-court matches, beating 5 seeded players in the last 10 matches including a straight sets win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. I’m not sure if big serving will be able to save Bublik this time, because Ruud has an effective one of his own that made defending break points against Tsitsipas a nonexistent endeavor. It is pretty clear, therefore, that Ruud should put a straightforward score on this otherwise entertaining match.
Prediction: Ruud in 2 sets
Written by: Vikram Khandelwal