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

hannahwilks in French Open 01 Oct 2020
Dominic Thiem (©Sebastien Muylaert/MAXPPP)

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

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