After a rather disappointing start to his grass-court campaign in Halle last week where he was bundled out in straight sets by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in the opening round, the world #2, Daniil Medvedev made an impressive start in his Mallorca opener. Making amends to his game after being a break of serve down in the early parts of the opening set, the 25-year-old Russian overcame the gutsy challenge of southpaw Corentin Moutet 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes. Following his impressive victory, Medvedev is all set to face Casper Ruud in their upcoming quarterfinal on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Norwegian Ruud had not won a match on grass before taking part at this year’s ATP Mallorca Open and just two days into the tournament, he now has won as many matches as he aims to find his feet on grass this season. In his opening couple of rounds, Ruud has cruised to straight-set wins over Gilles Simon and huge serving Tennys Sandgren and his relentless hitting on the forehand wing has been the feature of his game so far at the ATP Mallorca Open.
In their only encounter so far on the ATP tour, Medvedev overcame Ruud 6-3 7-6(6) in the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup down under last year. However, the 22-year-old Norwegian is a much-improved player now and can pose rusty Medvedev plenty of challenges in their encounter on Thursday.
Some of Ruud’s groundstrokes have been lethal in Mallorca and it would be fascinating to watch how Medvedev reacts to the former’s offense. The Russian, on the other hand, would look forward to employing his cheeky drop shots to bamboozle Ruud and would certainly test Norwegian’s game at the net as their upcoming match promises to be an arm-wrestle-like contest.
While Medvedev has mastered his game on the hard courts and his ten title triumphs on the hard courts attest to this fact as well, the Russian is yet to transcend his game effectively on any of the other surfaces- grass and clay. With Wimbledon in sights, Medvedev would hope to finetune his grass-court game and the ATP Mallorca Open can act as a perfect dress rehearsal for the Russian to get match ready for the hustles and challenges of the upcoming Championships that are all set to get underway on Monday.
Dominic Thiem’s unfortunate retirement against Adrian Mannarino due to a freakish wrist injury on Tuesday has certainly simplified Russian’s path to the title glory if indeed Medvedev manages to go the distance at the inaugural edition of the ATP Mallorca Open.
Nonetheless, before Medvedev can try to lay his hands on a maiden grass-court title, Ruud stands in his way and the Russian can neither afford to be complacent nor lose his temper if the going gets tough against an in-form Norwegian.
Generally, a reliable server on hard courts, the 25-year-old Russian has to find a way to serve effectively right from the get-go against Ruud and can land in troubled waters if his service game lets him down, just it did in the opening parts of the first set against Moutet. The top seed Medvedev starts as a favorite, but Ruud certainly has the potential to spring us a surprise as Medvedev and Ruud lock horns to clinch a spot in the semifinal at Mallorca.
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