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Preview: Casper Ruud vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas - prediction, form guide, head-to-head

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Monte Carlo Masters final between Casper Ruud and Stefano's Tsitsipas, including predictions, form and head-to-head record.

Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas will go head-to-head in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday, with both players recording standout wins in the semi-finals of the competition.

Tsitsipas overcame world number two Jannik Sinner, while Ruud took down the number one in men's tennis, with Novak Djokovic eliminated from the competition by the Norwegian.

Match preview

Casper Ruud on April 13, 2024© Reuters

Ruud played some stunning tennis in his three-set win over Djokovic in the final four of the competition, with the 25-year-old overcoming the Serbian for the first time in his career.

The Norwegian took the opening set 6-4 before struggling in the second, going down 6-1, but he recovered impressively to win the third 6-4, with Djokovic serving a double fault at match-point to hand his opponent a fine victory in Monte Carlo to book his spot in the final.

Ruud, who is ranked number 10 in the world, only dropped one set in his opening three matches of the competition against Alejandro Tabilo, Hubert Hurkacz and Ugo Humbert, before navigating his way past the number one.

The two-time French Open finalist is familiar with Tsitsipas, tackling him on four previous occasions, with both players posting two victories, and it is set to be a fascinating fight for the trophy on Sunday.

"Tomorrow is going to be a special day, first time playing in a final in Monte Carlo, I'll give it my all. Stef is playing well, he's a great player on clay - clay is where he's had the most success, but I'm up for it," Ruud said after the success over Djokovic.

"Just super happy, this is a day I will remember for a really long time – beating a world No. 1 is something I've never done, beating Novak is something I've never done. I'm just a little bit in a state of shock, I just didn't want to let it slip away."

Stefanos Tsitsipas pictured at the ATP Finals on November 12, 2023© Reuters

Ruud's success over Djokovic has slightly overshadowed Tsitsipas's win over Sinner, but it is an equally-impressive victory for the Greek, who is a two-time winner in Monte Carlo.

Tsitsipas took the opening set 6-4 against Sinner before losing the second 6-3, but he regrouped to take the decider 6-4, inflicting just a second defeat of the year on the world number two.

The 25-year-old, who is ranked at number 12 in the world, has victories in Monte Carlo in both 2021 and 2022, so he knows what it takes at this competition, which arguably places him as the favourite on Sunday.

Tsitsipas has had to play more tennis to reach this stage, overcoming Laslo Djere in the opening round, before beating Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov ahead of his success over Sinner, who struggled to find his best form in Saturday's semi-final.

"It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play," said Tsitsipas after his last-four win.

"He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren't that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and [the] way I overcame it is true excellence."

Tournament so far

Casper Ruud:

Second round: vs. Alejandro Tabilo 6-2 6-4
Third round: vs Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-2
Quarter-final:vs. Ugo Humbert 6-3 4-6 6-1
Semi-final: vs. Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4

Stefanos Tsitsipas:

First round: vs. Laslo Djere 6-3 3-2 (Djere retires)
Second round: vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-1 6-0
Third round: vs. Alexander Zverev 7-5 7-6[3]
Quarter-final: vs. Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-2
Semi-final: vs. Jannik Sinner 6-4 3-6 6-4

Head To Head

Italy F10 (2016) - Final: Tsitsipas wins 6-3 [2]6-7 7-6[2]
Mutua Madrid Open (2021) - Third Round: Ruud wins 7-6[4] 6-4
Rogers Cup (2021) - Quarter-Final: Tsitsipas wins 6-1 6-4
Mifel Tennis Open (2024) - Semi-Final: Ruud wins 6-4 7-6[4]

These two players have locked horns on four previous occasions, and it is all square, with both posting two wins.

Their most recent meeting came earlier this year at the Mifel Tennis Open in Mexico, and it was Ruud who recorded a 6-4 7-6[4] victory over Tsitsipas to advance to the final, where he lost to Jordan Thompson.

Ruud has been victorious in two of their last three meetings, but the most commanding win belongs to Tsitsipas, with the Greek recording a 6-1 6-4 success when they went to battle in the Rogers Cup in 2021.

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We say: Tsitsipas to win in three sets

This is such a difficult match to call, as both players were excellent in their semi-final wins.

It is the flip of a coin, with the recent meetings between them showing how close it is, but Tsitsipas's experience of winning in Monte Carlo should stand him in good stead, and we are backing the world number 12 to navigate his way to a three-set victory on Sunday.

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