In the battle for who will face Daniil Medvedev in one of the semifinals, Andrey Rublev faces Casper Ruud on Friday. We get into who will come out on top with our Rublev vs Ruud picks.
A year ago in his ATP Finals debut, Andrey Rublev was a bag of nerves and performed horribly in what turned out to be a meek outing. But behind a clinical serving performance in which he won 90 percent of first-serve points, Rublev took down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to get off to a much better start this time around. Novak Djokovic was far too good, however, and ran away a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 winner.
One of several debutants this year, five-time titlist Casper Ruud made an optimistic start where he pushed Djokovic to a first set tiebreak before losing in straight sets and came back from a 6-1 deficit to defeat the alternate Cameron Norrie. To make the semifinals though, he has to solve the Russian puzzle as Ruud is 0-4 in their head-to-head meetings and 0-1 on hard court.
Here are my picks and predictions for Friday’s ATP Finals matchup between Rublev and Ruud (odds via Unibet; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Rublev vs. Ruud Match Info
Date/Time: Friday, November 19, 5:30 a.m. ET
TV: Tennis Channel
Location: Turin, Italy
Rublev vs. Ruud Odds Analysis
With the higher world ranking (5 versus 8), better hard court results, and a 4-0 H2H lead, Andrey Rublev opened as the deserved -192 moneyline favorite.
Ruud opened the underdog for the fourth consecutive matchup between the pair, this time at a +155 underdog.
Rublev vs. Ruud Picks
Rublev -2.5 games (-112) ★★
Rublev -4.5 games (+255) ★
SEE ALSO: All ATP Tennis Odds and Lines
Rublev vs. Ruud Predictions
Rublev -2.5 games (-112)
Behind the big first serve, Rublev will quickly try to find opportunities to endpoints with his lethal forehand. Where his game has seen improvement in recent years is with his temper, backhand stability, and second serve speed.
Those earlier vulnerabilities within the 24-year olds game are less profound now, which has improved his record against the top 10 from a dismal 1-7 in 2017-2018 to 12-12 since.
Against Djokovic's elite court coverage and refusal to miss, Rublev still held up well on the backhand wing, which the Serb targeted early and often, even hitting a few nice winners off that side.
Ruud will just let Rublev try and get his big forehand into play, which is much spinnier and less linear than his opponent's. The Norwegian can use it to create wicked angles but has also started to flatten it out well, one of the reasons for his improvement on faster surfaces along with his elite movement skills.
The big problem for Ruud against the elite is his weaker backhand wing. It's spinny, lacks power and depth, and can leave him a sitting duck in rallies. Even on his preferred clay surface, Rublev is 3-0 H2H against him.
Hitting the far more linear strokes, Rublev takes time away from Ruud and is often granted the ability to run around and hit big forehands in the backhand exchanges. Look for the Russian to abuse this matchup advantage once again en route to the win.
Rublev -4.5 games (+255)
In their four-match career series, the only set that Ruud has won was the very first they played, which was back in Hamburg in 2019. Since then, Rublev has won eight consecutive sets across both fast and slow clay courts, as well as hard courts.
Ruud endured a slow start against Cameron Norrie, where he lost the first set handily. Another slow start like that would spell trouble, and it's clear that Rublev has worked out the matchup far better than his opponent. A fairly comfortable victory yet again is certainly on the cards at a big price.
Picks made on 11/18/2021 at 4:44 a.m. ET
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