TennisSection previews the 2021 Madrid Open as Felix Auger-Aliassime (15) meets Casper Ruud in the First Round on Tuesday May 4th, 2021.
A titanic First Round battle is on our hands as Felix Auger-Aliassime will face fellow young talent Casper Ruud at the 2021 Madrid Open. They are two of the most promising youngsters on the ATP Tour and it is sure to be an exciting match regardless of the outcome. While the young Canadian Auger-Aliassime is the higher ranked of the two, Ruud is the more accomplished player on clay so it is likely to be a very close affair. Who will come out on top and advance to the Second Round here in Madrid?
Felix Auger-Aliassime is currently ranked #20 on the ATP world rankings, and has long been considered a future star of the game. One of the most highly-rated prospects in history from the time he burst onto the scene as a young teenager, he has been finally fulfilling that promise in recent years. While he is yet to win an ATP Title, he has reached seven Finals and has a host of top 10 victories under his belt. His recent partnership with legendary coach Toni Nadal has been getting a lot of press lately but the jury is still out on if it has been working so far. The Canadian has had an underwhelming start to the clay court season and will be hoping for a strong result here. Unfortunately he is coming up against one of the most in-form clay court players in Casper Ruud, and despite his higher ranking should be considered the slight underdog here at the 2021 Madrid Open.
Casper Ruud is unseeded at this event and is ranked a career-high #24 in the ATP world rankings. He is considered one of the best clay court players in the world and his recent performances have backed that up. The Norwegian is coming off back to back Semi-Finals appearances at the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Munich Open, and is in red hot form. Plagued by injury earlier in the year he seems back to full fitness, but one must wonder if fatigue is an issue now as he seemed drained during his Semi-Final loss in Bavaria. Despite his lower ranking he is the favorite to win here against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2021 Madrid Open due to his better clay court pedigree but is certainly in for a battle.
This will be the second meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, with Felix Auger-Aliassime leading the head to head 1-0. They last played in 2019 at the Miami Masters, with the Canadian coming from a set down to win a close match. This is expected to be a huge battle, and it is unfortunate that the two high-quality players have to meet so early here at the 2021 Madrid Open. There really isn’t much to separate the two players and it is difficult to pick a winner. While Casper Ruud has had more success on clay, and is in better current form I am giving the edge to the Canadian here. The Norwegian looked drained during his Semi-Final loss last week to Nikolosz Basilashvilli and given that his movement and footwork are some of his major weapons, he looks to be in trouble here. I am expecting a vicious battle with Felix Auger-Aliassime eventually getting the victory.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Felix Auger-Aliassime to win.