ruudrublev

World No. 7 Andrey Rublev made it out of a group that included Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev to advance to the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. The Russian's reward? World No. 4 Casper Ruud. The winner of this one will take on the winner of a meeting between Djokovic and Taylor Fritz in the season's final match.

Not only does the winner of this event get to call himself a champion at one of the most difficult tournaments to win in all of tennis, but the prize money here is astronomical. With that said, there’s a lot on the line in this matchup between two excellent young players.

Rublev has gotten the best of this head-to-head series in the past, 4-1. However, Ruud that came away with a win in their most recent meeting, which happened to be at this very event a year ago. Ruud earned a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory in that one, and it's something to keep in mind when considering their ATP Finals rematch.

Advertising

It may be hard to back somebody that's 1-4 against their opponent, but you have to throw away the history here. Ruud has taken his game to new heights since the 2021 season, as he reached two Grand Slam finals in 2022. A big part of that was the Norwegian really fixing a backhand that was one of his only true weaknesses on the court. Now, we’re looking at a 23-year-old that has the potential to win majors.

All things considered, Ruud has been the steadiest player besides Novak Djokovic in the field all week. He had no problem beating a red-hot Felix Auger-Aliassime in his first match in round-robin play, and he backed it up by beating Fritz, who also happens to look great in Turin. So far, Ruud’s only loss came against Rafael Nadal, but that was a match that meant nothing for the Norwegian. Meanwhile, Rafa was trying to earn one final victory of the year in order to end his season on a positive note.

While it’s impressive that Rublev made it to this point, he just has looked a lot shakier than his record would suggest. And his power from the baseline might not be enough to help him overcome Ruud, who has one of the best forehands on tour and is feeling confident in all areas of the game. That’s why we’re backing the 23-year-old in this spot. We also wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on to win this event—it would be a nice consolation prize for not having won either of his two Grand Slam finals, and it would send a message to his competitors heading into 2023. Maybe a futures bet to consider, too?

The Pick: Ruud To Win (+125)