Casper Ruud will be looking to go one better than his stellar run last year, where he made the final before being overwhelmed by Rafael Nadal. With many in the Top 10 showing rapid improvement, there will be the fear for the Norwegian that he is begin to be overshadowed by the likes of Holger Rune and even Daniil Medvedev when it comes to this surface in particular. The opener here will be an all-Scandinavian matchup with qualifier Elias Ymer being the first opponent for Ruud.
Now 27 and yet to make the Top 100, it seems fair to say that Ymer’s career has not matched the early hype and promise that came with his breakthrough. He qualified for and played all four slams in 2015 but has only played at four more prior to this event with just one win combined. He didn’t drop a set on his way to the main draw with the final win against an in-form Yannick Hanfmann looking impressive in particular.
After the disappointment of losing to Holger Rune in Rome, Ruud headed to Geneva for a tournament that he will been favoured to win overall. A three set loss to eventual winner Nicolas Jarry has to be seen as a disappointment for a top five player, especially having held a set lead in that match. While the title would have been nice, it is just as much about being in the correct shape and mindset for contenders like him. “I hope that I can sort of awaken those memories again and keep building and be strong and fit and ready for Roland Garros.” he said after Rome.
While Ymer was able to play to a high level in qualifying, things will get much harder for him with the best of five format where experience always helps. Ruud should have far too much tactically and should be able to ease through this against an opponent who shouldn’t have many weapons to trouble him, especially on clay.
Prediction – Casper Ruud in straight sets