TennisSection previews the 2021 Andalucia Open as Casper Ruud (3) meets Gianluca Mager in the Round of 16 on Thursday April 8th, 2021.
Third seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud will face Gianluca Mager of Italy in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Andalucia Open. While this match seems straightforward on paper, there are several factors that lead us to believe that it will be a lot closer than anticipated. Both men are at home on the clay courts, and have had considerable success throughout their careers. Will it be the higher ranked Casper Ruud advancing to the Quarter-Finals here at the 2021 Andalucia Open? Or can the Italian cause the upset?
Casper Ruud has had some injury concerns lately but seems to be back to his best. Currently ranked #26, he has a strong start to the year by reaching the Fourth Round at the Australian Open, but has failed to find much form since. He will be happy to be back on the clay which is considered his strongest service, and will be eager to get off to a strong start here at the 2021 Andalucia Open. One of the best movers in world tennis, he has a very strong baseline game and can dominate from the baseline with his aggressive style. Once fully fit, he is considered one of the top contenders for the title here in Marbella, but is faced with a tricky draw. His opponent Gianluca Mager is very tough to beat on this surface and cannot be discounted here despite the disparity in rankings.
Gianluca Mager is currently ranked #91 in the world but is a much better player than his ranking suggests. He is an accomplished player on this surface, reaching the Final in Rio de Janeiro last year, defeating his opponent here Casper Ruud in the process. The Italian has built some serious momentum heading into the 2021 Andalucia Open, winning the Challenger event here in Marbella, Spain last week. His confidence will be sky high, and that win coupled with the fact that he has beaten his opponent before opens the possibility up of an upset here. Mager is a very solid baseline player with a huge forehand and a strong serve. If Ruud is not fully fit as has been the case all season then he certainly has a chance here.
The two players have faced each other once before on the ATP Tour, with Gianluca Mager leading the head to head series 1-0. This match is poised to be a very close battle between two gritty clay court players and it is difficult to pick a winner here. If we knew that Casper Ruud was 100% healthy then he would be the obvious choice, but serious question marks remain over his fitness. He is the more accomplished player with a clay-court ATP title to his name but his opponent is no slouch and is fully capable of winning here. Despite the obvious signs pointing towards an upset, I am going with Casper Ruud here. He has looked very impressive when he has taken the court in 2021 and I do think that he has enough quality to get the job done here. Three sets is not out of the question, but expect Casper Ruud to get the win and advance to the Quarter-Finals here at the 2021 Andalucia Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Casper Ruud to win.