ATP Rio Open Day 2 Predictions Including Casper Ruud vs Gianluca Mager

Pedro Sousa at the Rio Open

There was no shortage of drama on day one at the Rio Open, with two marathon clashes to close the day’s play. First, Thiago Seyboth Wild overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a bad-tempered affair, before the 16-year-old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia beat seventh seed Albert Ramos Vinolas in a third-set tiebreak to win on his tour-level debut. As ever, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions across the board, including for top seed Dominic Thiem’s opening clash with Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves. But who will book their place in the second round on day two?

Rio Open Day Two Predictions

Casper Ruud vs Gianluca Mager

Head-to-head: first meeting

Casper Ruud arrives at the Rio Open a man in form after his run to the title in Buenos Aires last week. The Norwegian is clearly most at home on the clay and has enjoyed success during the Golden Swing throughout his career, with Rio de Janeiro, where he has twice made the semifinals, proving a particularly happy hunting ground. But he may need to be at his best up against the Italian Gianluca Mager, who stormed through the qualifying without dropping a set.

Mager has very little experience of tennis at the highest level, having played just five ATP Tour matches so far in his career. Ruud, despite being four years younger than Mager, has played 90. Clearly then, it is Ruud who will be the favourite coming into this clash. But Mager has proved himself a useful clay-courter and with Ruud having little turnaround time after his win in Buenos Aires, the Italian should not be underestimated. Nonetheless, in a baseline battle, Ruud should have just enough to come through in conditions he clearly enjoys.

Prediction: Ruud in 3
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Attila Balazs vs Pablo Cuevas

Head-to-head: Balazs 1-0 Cuevas

After a terrible start to the season on the hard courts in Australia, Pablo Cuevas has found some much-needed form in his native South America, back on his preferred clay. He recorded back-to-back quarterfinal showings in Cordoba and Buenos Aires, with no shame attached to his narrow defeats at the hands of Cristian Garin and Diego Schwartzman. Attila Balazs, meanwhile, secured his place in the main draw at the Rio Open as a lucky loser, despite being on the receiving end of a 0-6 2-6 hammering from Mager in the final round of qualifying. But there was little in that match to suggest he will be able to take advantage of his good fortune up against the accomplished Uruguayan.

Prediction: Cuevas in 2
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Leonardo Mayer vs Lorenzo Sonego

Head-to-head: Mayer 1-0 Sonego

The hard-hitting Leonardo Mayer has had an excellent career, but the 32-year-old seems to have lost his way of late. He has fallen outside the world’s top 100 and has lost all four of the tour-level matches he has played so far this season. That said, he may consider himself unlucky to have lost out to Albert Ramos Vinolas in Buenos Aires, where he fell to a narrow 6-4 3-6 5-7 defeat in the first round, and he will surely have taken confidence from his performance in that match if not the end result. He also beat Lorenzo Sonego in their only previous meeting, which came last season on the clay in Sao Paolo.

But Sonego has made impressive strides in the intervening period, although he too is yet to claim a win this season. In the Italian’s defence, he has faced some tough opening-round draws, with his straight-sets loss to Attila Balazs at the Cordoba Open the only defeat that really stands out. Regardless, both men will likely be short of confidence and this match seems unlikely to go down as a classic as a result. But Sonego’s quality as a counter-puncher should give him enough to edge past the Argentine, particularly as the Brazilian crowd are certain to be on his side.

Prediction: Sonego in 3
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Jaume Munar vs Salvatore Caruso

Head-to-head: Caruso 2-0 Munar

After a fine junior career, Jaume Munar looked to have a bright future in the game. But after reaching a career-high ranking of world #52 last May, the Spaniard has toiled for little reward in recent months and finds himself on the verge of falling out of the top 100 as a result. But there have been some signs that he is turning things around so far in 2020. His record of 2-4 on the main tour is respectable enough, although his 3-6 3-6 loss to Thiago Monteiro in his Buenos Aires opener will surely have stung.

Salvatore Caruso, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakout 2019 season, but he has struggled to build any momentum so far in 2020. However, he has beaten Munar in both of their previous meetings, on the clay in Barcelona and at the French Open. That will surely give him real confidence heading into this match up. Baseline exchanges seem likely to be the order of the day, but if Caruso can serve well and bring Munar forward with drop shots, he should have just enough to claim his place in the second round.

Prediction: Caruso in 3
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Joao Domingues vs Pedro Sousa

Head-to-head: Sousa 4-2 Domingues

Pedro Sousa enjoyed a memorable week at the Argentina Open, reaching his first tour-level final. Unfortunately for the Portuguese, despite winning his semifinal by walkover, he was spent in that final, losing swiftly to Ruud. And one suspects that his exploits in Buenos Aires will have done little for his prospects in Rio. Joao Domingues, who battled through the qualifying, looks well-placed to capitalise. He has, it should be noted, enjoyed little success against his countryman, with both of his wins coming by retirement. But he took Sousa the distance in their last meeting in Poznan last season and with his legs surely fresher, he should be able to earn his first outright win over the 31-year-old.

Prediction: Domingues in 3

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