Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction
Top seed Novak Djokovic meets Casper Ruud in the semifinals of the Rome Masters.
Djokovic was thoroughly tested by Dominik Koepfer in the quarterfinals. The German who came through qualifying dropped the first set 6-3 but roared back to take the second set 6-4 as he capitalized on some inconsistent returning from the Serb. However, Djokovic was in control in the third set as he won it 6-3. Djokovic's breakpoint conversion was woeful as he managed to convert just six points out of 21 opportunities.
Ruud opened up the draw after stunning Marin Cilic in straight sets in the pre-quarterfinals. He was trailing 3-5 in the deciding set's tie-break against Matteo Berrettini, but the Italian faltered in the crucial moments as Ruud reached his maiden ATP Masters semifinal.
Head to Head record
Djokovic and Ruud are playing against each other for the first time on the tour. With his archrival, Rafael Nadal knocked out of the tournament by Diego Schwartzman, Djokovic is now the clear favourite to win the title. The Serb is chasing a record 36th ATP Masters 1000 title after being tied on 35 with Nadal.
“He's a clay-court specialist, obviously, he's very good on different surfaces, but clay is where he feels most comfortable and where he had his best results, he's making his way up the ranking scale. it's really impressive to see him in the semi-finals, but at the same time, it's kind of expected, knowing how well he can play on this surface," said Djokovic praising his opponent.
"This is my first time in the semi-finals, I'm just enjoying the moment, I'm in a good flow, I have gained good confidence in my game this week in Rome, I feel well here, these are great clay courts, it's the way I think the clay court should be," said Ruud sounding optimistic about his chances.
With 12 wins and two losses on clay-courts this year, Ruud is enjoying playing on the red dirt. While Djokovic will be looking to get off the blocks quickly and win in a straight-forward fashion, the Norwegian would look to find angles to open the court and use his formidable forehand from the baseline to extract errors from Djokovic.
Prediction - Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets
Featured image credits: thestatszone.com