Daniil Medvedev vs. Casper Ruud Odds, Picks, Prediction: Russian Should Handle Quality Opponent
Credit: Giampiero Sposito, Getty. Daniil Medvedev hits a forehand against Jannik Sinner.
Daniil Medvedev vs. Casper Ruud
|Time||Saturday, 8 a.m. ET|
|Head-to-Head Record: 2-0 Medvedev|
|Odds via PointsBet. For tips on watching tennis, click here. |
The semifinals are upon us at the Nitto ATP Finals, and the first matchup of the day pits world number two Daniil Medvedev against Casper Ruud.
Medvedev finished atop his group, sealing an undefeated round-robin campaign with a thrilling three-set victory over hometown hero Jannik Sinner. The win was even more impressive considering Medvedev was playing in a dead rubber having already secured the top spot in the group.
The moment @DaniilMedwed defeated Sinner in his second final set tiebreak of the week! pic.twitter.com/h76mCXgNyd
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 18, 2021
Ruud also played a three-set match that included a tiebreaker to decide it in his last round-robin stage, but the stakes were much higher in his case. Ruud played Andrey Rublev with the winner going through to the next stage, and the Norwegian overcame a set deficit to advance.
THRILLING tussle 🙌@CasperRuud98 produces a fighting comeback to defeat Rublev 2-6 7-5 7-6, securing a maiden #NittoATPFinals semi-final! pic.twitter.com/BWYajtjQAB
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 19, 2021
Does Ruud have any chance as a heavy underdog against Medvedev?
Medvedev Has Several Advantages
The Russian has clear advantages in this matchup on many levels. From a service perspective, Medvedev is going to be able to generate far more break points than Ruud. In the group stage, Medvedev garnered a whopping 47 aces while hitting only seven double faults.
It’s not that Ruud won’t be able to generate free points behind his first serve — he compiled 33 aces against just seven doubles, but the key distinction comes with the first serve points won. Medvedev won over 75% of the points in that category in each of his matches, while Ruud didn’t crack that number one time.
Behind the second serve, Medvedev won over 60% of his points in each match, while Ruud topped 50% only once. This distinction will provide a major advantage for Medvedev.
On the ground, Medvedev will be happy to allow Ruud to play as many balls as he’d like on the backhand side, where the Russian will have another major edge. The one weapon that could threaten him is Ruud’s forehand, so it will be key for Medvedev to limit forehand-to-forehand rallies.
With his ability to redirect points, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Ruud’s Forehand is Key
As I mentioned above, Ruud has been able to both generate easy points behind his serve and follow that up with a massive forehand.
The issue for him is that Medvedev presents a challenge similar to the one in his first match when he faced off with Novak Djokovic. It’s hard for the Norwegian to use his forehand as a major weapon because of the depth and quality with which Medvedev defends.
It’s going to take two winners per every one that it would have taken versus Norrie and Rublev (exaggeration, but not by a lot), and that could weigh on Ruud as the match moves on.
If he can serve as well as he possibly can, it could allow for sustainable holds, but that type of serving is going to be required for Ruud to push Medvedev. Without having that at his side, it could be a long day.
Despite the evaluations above, I’m not entirely enamored with Medvedev in this match. Priced at -700 to win and at -195 to win in two, the only real option to back Medvedev on is with the game spread.
There is some value at -4.5, but the issue lies in the fact that Ruud has been able to battle so well from losing positions. Even against Djokovic, Ruud was able to keep the first set in range from difficult positions and cover the game spread.
If I had to back a selection here, it would be Medvedev on the spread, but I’m cautious due to the ability that Ruud has shown throughout the event, even against a player with ability like Djokovic.
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