French Open

French Open Day 5 Tips: Mercurial Spaniard to deliver Ruud awakening?

Casper Ruud French Open
Ruud awakening? Will last year's finalist ease through against Davidovich Fokina

Day 5 features a repeat of a 2021 French Open thriller. Tennis tipster Gavin Mair thinks that match-up can once again be compelling...

  • Ruud bang in form

  • Davidovich Fokina capable of delivering bloody nose

  • Value tip to keep Ruud onside

There is no more mercurial talent in men's tennis than Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Spaniard has the game to beat any opponent, but his good days are infrequent.

On one of those good days he defeated today's opponent Casper Ruud in a five set thriller at the French Open back in 2021.

Since then Ruud has contested back to back finals at this event and it feels a tough ask for Foki to repeat that result, but he can draw blood from Ruud.

Foki has game

Defeating Ruud on clay is not Davidovich Fokina's only notable career scalp. He has top 10 wins over Hubert Hurkacz, Matteo Berrettini and Holger Rune under his belt.

Most notable is his win over Novak Djokovic en route to the final of the Masters event in Monte Carlo back in 2022. Foki can play.

Unfortunately the man with two names has two personalities like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. For all those good days there are far more off days hence why he is unseeded in this year's draw.

At the French Open Foki can be relied upon to be competitive and it takes a good opponent to beat him.

His losses have been against Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Novak Djokovic and the comparatively talented Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in 2022 (when elevated expectations post Monte Carlo run were a factor).

I am comfortable with keeping Foki onside in this match-up as if he gets it right he's shown he is capable of beating Ruud.

Vibes vs Steadiness

There is a large contrast in how these men go about their business.

Ruud is a steady eddy. You know what you will get from the Norwegian temperamentally and in his performances. His forehand is his key weapon and it is at its most destructive on the clay.

Davidovich Fokina has a well rounded game and he plays off instinct and vibes. You don't know what you'll get from him but it is this surprise factor that gives him a puncher's chance in this one.

The Spaniard had a good showing in round one against the Monégasque player Valentin Vacherot, recovering from a set down by playing some quality ball.

Ruud on the other hand was ruthless and controlled against Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Alves. Characteristically steady and controlled.

I expect that the in-form Ruud will come through this match. His form is undoubtedly high having been runner-up in Monte Carlo and winning titles recently in Barcelona and Geneva.

In Monte Carlo and Geneva he was prone to leaving the door open, dropping sets along the way.

That feels important also for this match. In all but one of their career meetings to date both players have taken at least a set and that's where my head is at for this one.

Back Casper Ruud to win and both players to win a set at 13/102.30

Now read more of our French Open tips here!

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