After a week of upsets on the Californian coast, second seed Casper Ruud has survived the onslaught and will look to lay his hands on his first career hard-court title at the ATP San Diego Open. But can British #2 Cameron Norrie continue his superb form and author another shock win against the odds on Sunday?
ATP San Diego Final Prediction
Casper Ruud vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: first meeting
The final match in San Diego will incidentally be the first career meeting at any level between Ruud and Norrie. Norrie has engineered one upset after another this week and none bigger than his win over top seed Andrey Rublev in Friday’s semifinal – his second career win over a top-five player. He recovered from losing the first set to win 3-6 6-3 6-4, saving eight of the nine break points he faced and winning 71% of the points behind his first serve.
Ruud, for his part, has proven a lot this week. His form on hard courts has improved considerably in recent months with the Norwegian making back-to-back quarterfinals in Toronto and Cincinnati. This run to the final will surely smother any lingering doubts about his ability to perform outside clay. His three-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the second semifinal puts him in prime position to lock in the final spot in the ATP Race to Turin.
The way the top-seeded players have fallen this week (three of them at the hands of Norrie), you would have to fancy the southpaw’s chances on Sunday. Norrie is coltish and a hard-runner – something you can associate with Ruud too. But the Norwegian won’t have an effective topspin to disrupt Norrie’s momentum behind his sturdy forehand and precise first serve. His crosscourt forehand in particular wreaked havoc in Rublev’s gameplan in both the second and third sets. Ruud’s relentless pursuit for every ball should keep Norrie on his toes, but the Brit’s mesmerizing form is simply too hard to ignore. He looks poised to clinch his second title of 2021.
Prediction: Norrie in 3
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