We’ll be seeing a red-hot player taking on a veteran warrior tomorrow in Munich. Ruud is on the back of a semifinal run in Monte Carlo, and will be looking for another deep run here as the second seed. While Millman’s results on clay and in general have been less than special this year, he is a fighter that can grind out points and take advantage of any weaknesses in his opponents mentality. This match will be one of the first matches in this tournament with two seeded players facing off, but the result might be more lackluster than some would expect.
- Millman 1-0 Ruud (Miami Open Qualifiers 2018)
- Millman is 4-9 in 2021, with a notable three-set victory against Alexei Popyrin
- Ruud is 10-4 in 2021, with a notable straight-sets win against Diego Schwartzman
- Millman is 4-3 on clay in 2021 (1 walkover not counted)
- Ruud is 6-2 on clay in 2021
JOHN MILLMAN - KEYS TO THE MATCH
Millman hasn’t had a breakthrough tournament in 2021, and the fact that the clay is his best surface this year says he is far from his prime. If he is to win this match, his receiving game will be vital. He did a good job of neutralizing the big Popyrin serve two matches ago, but only capitalized on 2 of 16 break point opportunities. This simply won’t work against the red-hot Casper Ruud, who won’t need a second invitation to relieve the pressure on himself and start crushing forehands in the corners. Millman should also take advantage of the angle he can produce on his backhand to make Ruud’s groundstrokes a little less powerful.
Round 1 | def. Popyrin 7-6 (3) 3-6 7-5
Round 2 | def. Pella 4-6 2-0 (wo)
CASPER RUUD - KEYS TO THE MATCH
Ruud will have a much easier time of this match than Millman. Given his groundstroke strength on both wings, his ideal strategy is very simple; hit to where Millman isn’t. If Ruud can tire Millman out in the first set, there won’t be a need for him to approach the net. Ruud should extend the rallies and force Millman to play one more ball. In the second set, Ruud can let loose on both wings and give himself a bigger margin for error as Millman won’t be able to chase down the power shots anymore.
Round 2 | def. Cuevas 6-3 6-2
It’ll be a time-honored veteran vs an upcoming prospect in this clay-court matchup tomorrow. But this time, the Norwegian has the upper hand in the rankings, win-loss ratio and the surface. Indeed, the Australian has only made it past the second round of a clay court event once in four attempts this year, due to his opponent’s retirement. Meanwhile, Ruud boasts wins over Schwartzman, Carreno Busta, and Fognini during his semifinal run in Monte Carlo. With Ruud’s young legs on his favorite surface, as long as he takes over points early there isn’t anything Millman’s game can do to trouble him.
Prediction: Ruud in 2 sets
Written by - Vikram Khandelwal