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Andrey Rublev to beat Casper Ruud 2-0 at (+145) at FanDuel
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This is a dead rubber with nothing at stake and making little appeal from a betting perspective.
Having won both matches so far, Djokovic is already through the semi-finals as group winner, while alternate Norrie cannot qualify following his loss to Casper Ruud on Wednesday night.
The Briton has enjoyed a terrific season but it has contained just a solitary win over a top-10 player on a hardcourt (Andrey Rublev in San Diego) and it’s hard to make much of a case for Norrie, as long as Djokovic is fully focused.
That is always the concern for favorite backers in a dead rubber – with a semi-final to come on Saturday, could he essentially treat this as a bit of a practice session? There certainly seems little point in pushing too hard, particularly if things don’t go well in the early stages. For the record, 2-0 Norrie is at +1300, surely worth backing ahead of the outright win for the underdog.
I was happy to oppose Daniil Medvedev in a match that meant nothing to him on Thursday but I’m struggling to see Norrie having enough weapons to beat the world number one, who looked in total control against Rublev in his last match.
Essentially, I’ll leave this one alone and focus on the match which actually means something.
It’s winner stays on in this one with the victor progressing to a semi-final meeting with Daniil Medvedev.
I expected Rublev to win this match at the start of the group stage and I’m not changing my mind now.
He holds a 4-0 record in the head-to-head, having won their last eight sets. Admittedly none has taken place on an indoor hardcourt but three were on clay, a surface which Ruud would prefer.
Rublev appeared to lack belief when he faced Novak Djokovic on Wednesday but with that H2H on side, he should have it in abundance coming into this contest.
On the same day, Ruud kept his qualification hopes alive with a three-set win over Cameron Norrie, although it was a match he looked likely to lose in straight sets for much of it.
The Norwegian admitted afterwards that he will need to improve on return against Rublev, who will hope to deliver the ball as well as he did in his first match when he won 90% of his first serve points against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
A look through his previous meetings with Ruud show he’s managed to win at least 74% of first-serve points in every contest, as well as at least 50% on second serve in three of the four, so it could be a tough day for Ruud when he doesn’t have the balls in his hands.
Ruud may well be the one lacking belief on this occasion as he holds a miserable 0-7 win-loss record on hardcourts against top-10 players, losing every match in straight sets.
That looks the best play here.
Odds of +145 may not scream value but it’s the result I do expect to happen.
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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