Thiem vs Ruud French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

Will Dominic Thiem be tested by Casper Ruud, the rising Norwegian who is 15-4 on clay in 2020, when they meet in the third round of Roland Garros?

Thiem vs Ruud is live from Roland Garros on Friday 2 October, 11am local/10am BST

Now on a nine-match winning streak, Dominic Thiem has sailed through two potentially tough matches at the French Open with flying colours and is now targeting a place in the third round fot the fifth year in a row.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

But he’s up against another potentially tough opponent in Casper Ruud of Norway, the 21-year-old from Norway who has established himself as quite a presence on clay courts especially over the past 18 months. Could Ruud be the first player to take a set from Thiem in Paris this fortnight?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Thiem vs Ruud live

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Thiem vs Ruud: Head-to-head

This is the first match between Dominic Thiem and Casper Ruud.

Thiem vs Ruud: Preview

So far, there’s been little sign of any post-US Open slump from Dominic Thiem. Despite his lack of clay-court matches after understandably skipping the Rome Masters, the Austrian has yet to drop a set at the French Open and it isn’t as if he hasn’t been facing potentially tricky opponents – both Marin Cilic in the first round and Jack Sock in the second looked poised at one point to take at least a set from the third seed.

Still very much one of the favourites for the title, grouped together with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the top with everybody else a long way behind, Thiem has established that he can hit through these slow courts and cold conditions in 2020 – much like Stan Wawrinka, whose game his so much resembles and who he could well meet in the last 16 in what would be a must-watch clash.

Before that though Thiem has to contend with Casper Ruud, the young Norwegian from a tennis family who is into the third round of the French Open for the second straight year. Last year, he beat former semifinalist Ernests Gulbis and Matteo Berrettini before losing to Roger Federer; this year, he is seeded after a 20-9 season so far. Fifteen of those wins have come on clay, on which Ruud is 15-4 in 2020: He made back-to-back finals on the Golden Swing in February, winning Buenos Aires and losing Santiago, and made a breakthrough run to the semifinals of the Rome Masters, surpassing his father Christian’s career-best record of making the quarterfinals.

Casper Ruud (Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa)

Karen Khachanov, Marin Cilic and Fabio Fognini were all victims of Ruud’s Rome semifinal run and the one that followed the week after in Hamburg, and it took Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev, eventual champions both, to stop him respectively. At the French Open, he breezed through Yuichi Sugita in the first round before being taken to five by Tommy Paul, but we should expect him to go all out in a bid to get his second win over a top-10 player when he faces Thiem.

This really should be a watchable clash. Ruud really took it to Djokovic when they met in Rome, and it will be interesting to see how he handles Thiem’s tendency to return serve from so far behind the baseline – will he find ways to take advantage? Ultimately I think the way Ruud plays will play into Thiem’s hands and the Austrian should take it in straights, but it will be tight.

Thiem vs Ruud: Prediction

Novak Djokovic faces rising Norwegian Casper Ruud as he looks to book a place in the Rome Masters final for the tenth time.

Djokovic vs Ruud is live from Rome on Sunday 20 September, 2pm local/1pm BST

Since making his main-draw debut at the Rome Masters in 2006, Novak Djokovic has reached the final nine times, including six of the past seven years, and despite a tough match against qualifier Dominik Koepfer the world no. 1 has put himself in position to do so again.

Rome Masters 2020: Find out tournament information for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and how to stream ATP Rome matches live

Djokovic dropped a set to Koepfer before coming through 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a first encounter with Casper Ruud, the first Norwegian man ever to make a Masters 1000 Series semifinal.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Djokovic vs Ruud live

Rome Masters matches including Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

1. Click here to go to bet365
2. Sign in or open an account and deposit £5 or more
3. Go to tennis > US Open > Djokovic vs Ruud

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Djokovic vs Ruud: Head-to-head

Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud have never played before.

Djokovic vs Ruud: Preview

After a lengthy tussle with compatriot Filip Krajinovic to reach the quarterfinals, with the first set alone taking 88 minutes, Novak Djokovic’s win over qualifier Dominik Koepfer only took a few minutes longer than his straight-sets win over Krajinovic.

Koepfer had beaten Gael Monfils and Lorenzo Musetti, among others, to reach the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 Series event for the first time, and he played a match which underlined exactly why he’s headed towards the top 50 fast. But it was not all about his good tennis. Djokovic struggled throughout to find his range on his forehand, and errors off that wing were the keynote of a scrappy performance; racing to a 4-0 lead, then losing three straight games before closing out the first set, Djokovic was again unable to consolidate a break lead in the second, getting so frustrated midway through it that he smashed a racquet.

Koepfer broke serve to level the match, but Djokovic tightened up his game in the third, breaking early and this time not handing the advantage back. By the time he closed out the win, he had created 21 break points – but only converted six, and failed to save a single one of the four he faced.

Now 29-1 in 2020 and yet to lose a completed match this season, Djokovic’s struggles in a match like that must be seen in the context of both his achievements and the strain that this most unusual year is putting on everybody. Still he will want to make much more of an emphatic statement when he takes on Ruud in Sunday’s semifinals.

Casper Ruud (Alfredo Falcone – LaPresse – PA Images)

Saturday was a day of milestones for Ruud, who became the first Norwegian man to make a Masters 1000 Series semifinal – surpassing the mark set by his father Christian, who reached the Rome quarterfinals in 1997 – and also claimed his first victory over a top-10 opponent in five attempts, beating Matteo Berrettini 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).

The 21-year-old Ruud had lost in straight sets to Berrettini in the third round of the US Open, but on clay it was a whole different story. Berrettini, whose combination of big serve, big forehand and slice backhand is a more natural fit for hard courts, powered his way through the first set, but in the long run, Ruud’s heavier topspin, better movement and affinity for patient, well-constructed rallies won the day, despite relinquishing an early break lead in the decider and having to come back from 2-4 down in the third-set tie-break.

Ruud had great success moving Berrettini around and forcing him back behind the baseline, but needless to say, these tactics won’t meet with the same success against Djokovic, who has absolutely no difficulty winning points behind the baseline and won’t – even on Saturday’s form – give up the kinds of errors. We’ve often seen Djokovic brush off poorer performances against less threatening opponents to bring his best in the semifinals and finals and I expect to see that again on Sunday.

Djokovic vs Ruud: Prediction