Who emerges victorious in the quest to score their first victory between Casper Ruud and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina?
<div><h2><strong>Casper Ruud vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina</strong></h2><p><strong>Wednesday, November 6, Milan</strong><br /><br /><strong>A Ruud awakening</strong><br /><br />The expectations perhaps weren´t all too high on Casper Ruud coming into this tournament, as the Norwegian budding star had only managed one main draw win on hard court all year. Indoors hadn´t been a good place for the 20-year old either, whose only success came on the super slow, high bouncing courts in Saint Petersburg. Ruud would come up against a tough assignment in Miomir Kecmanovic in the first outing, whom he trailed by 6-2 before retiring in Zhuhai a few months ago. On courts that were noticeably sped up at the new location in the Allianz Cloud Arena, it would be a serve-orientated affair.<br /><br />The world no. 56 acquitted himself well on serve, facing no break points throughout the first two sets and smashing down a plethora of aces, six in the first set alone. However, Ruud had also lost six straight tiebreaks coming into this event, and that horrid streak would only worsen today. His Serbian opponent was just too solid in the backhand to backhand duels, and often was able to up the pace or have that extra staying power in the longer rallies. After taking the first two tiebreaks, Kecmanovic would pounce on a somewhat dejected Ruud and break for the first time in the match to wrap up a straight sets loss.<br /><br /><strong>A surprising showing</strong><br /><br />The surprise of the first batch of matches may well have been Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Feeling lucky to even being here, in only due to both Felix-Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov withdrawing, the Spaniard had nothing to lose. As the least experienced player in the field at this level, there were plenty of new elements to get used to, such as the shot clock. Up against the tournament favourite Alex De Minaur in his first bout, few gave the world no. 82 much of a shot at the upset, or even to take a set off the Aussie.<br /><br />However, the Junior Wimbledon champion quickly proved he had all the skills neccessary to cause all sorts of trouble. As soon as De Minaur dropped a ball a little short, Fokina would step into the court and blast a devastating winner. The amount of pace he was able to generate off not only the forehand wing but also the backhand wing certainly seemed to surprise the world no. 18. While De Minaur was too solid in the first set, committing zero unforced errors, Fokina was the much better player in the second set, coming up on top in even the longer rallies. Deservedly taking the second set tiebreak and even breaking the Aussie for 1-0 in the third, an upset was beginning to brew. However, two double faults and a wild service game would spell the beginning of the end for the unraveling Spaniard, who still had plenty of positives to take from the contest.<br /><br /><strong>Halfway home</strong><br /><br />Casper Ruud was truly outmatched yesterday, and though he acquitted himself well on serve, the Norwegian just didn´t have the staying power in the longer rallies on this quick a surface. Though he did lose in the end, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina impressed yesterday, and pressured the best player in this field. While Ruud fares poorly outside of the red dirt, Fokina has no such problems. The Junior Wimbledon champion packs serious power in his groundstrokes, and loves stepping into the court so he can mix it up with his stellar drop shot as well. After losing to Kecmanovic convincingly, who wasn´t even favored to make it to the semifinals, the Norwegian maybe halfway home to Oslo already. On a fast hard court surface, Fokina has the profound edge, yet has been made the large underdog. At a 2.52 Pinnacle price, there is value on the Spaniard.<br /><br /><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Tennis Betting Odds"><strong><em>Best bet</em></strong>: <strong><em>Davidovich Fokina to win at 2.52 (38/25) with [Bet365] </em></strong><em>1.5u</em></a><br /><br /><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a></p><p><strong>Miomir Kecmanovic vs. Alex De Minaur</strong><br /><br /><strong>Wednesday, November 6, Milan</strong><br /><br /><strong>Sharp and steady</strong><br /><br />Coming into this tournament as the last to originally qualify in the Race to Milan, Miomir Kecmanovic´s form had been nothing short of woeful as of late. Losing six of his last eight matches(and one win coming through retirement), the Serb may have been devoid of confidence. That certainly wasn´t something that showed in his first round bout with Casper Ruud however. Steady as a rock from the baseline, and confident behind his delivery, Kecmanovic won a staggering 92% of first serve points.<br /><br />Able to lock Ruud into grueling backhand to backhand exchanges that he came up on top in, the 20-year old constantly had his opponent looking for answers. On these blazing fast courts where two tiebreaks would ensue, the world no. 55 showed his superior experience in the important moments. Having partaken in many close matches across multiple surfaces this season, that extra bit of quality came to the forefront when it matters most, and in the end it was a relatively comfortable straight sets victory.<br /><br /><strong>Overcoming a slow start</strong><br /><br />Following the withdrawals from reigning champion Stefanos Tsitsipas(plays the ATP Finals), Felix Auger-Aliassime(injury) and Denis Shapovalov(exhaustion), Alex De Minaur entered the tournament as the overwhelming title favourite. Off a sensational year which has been crowned with no less than three ATP titles, the Australian will surely look to avenge last year´s loss in the final of this event and go one step further. Up against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina it would become clear that "Demon" couldn´t be complacent. Looking low on energy and intensity, the world no. 18 still produced no unforced errors to take the first set 4-2.<br /><br />Fokina would raise his level significantly in the second set however, and was even able to get the better of the elite counterpuncher in the longer rallies, at one point leading 9-0 in points going over 9 hits. Grabbing the second set tiebreak and building serious momentum breaking De Minaur in the first game of the third set, the Aussie looked in trouble. Consecutive double faults and a wild service game would gift the break right back, and the Spaniard would start to misfire early and often from this point onwards. As Demon´s level improved, Fokina´s dropped, and that was enough to wrap the last two sets up in comfortable fashion, 4-1, 4-1.<br /><br /><strong>A serve-orientated contest</strong><br /><br />Alex De Minaur didn´t look his usual self in his first round bout here. Low on the normal intensity and energy, the Aussie did well to play within himself and still get the win. The opposition gets much tougher here however, with Miomir Kecmanovic showing a return to form in his first match. Almost inpenetrable behind his first serve delivery with winning 92% of first serve points, that bigger serve gives the Serb and edge over his counterpunching opponent. The conditions here at the Allianz Cloud Arena have proven to be much quicker than what we´ve seen in this tournament prior, which has had a large hand in the serve-orientated matchups. A third of the completed sets yesterday went to a tiebreak, and only 4/15 settled in a 4-1 score. In this best of five sets, first to four games format, the games thus tend to stack up quite naturally. It would take a gargantuan effort to close anyone out in straight sets with the naturally swingy format and fast conditions. De Minaur dropped a set to Davidovich Fokina yesterday and though he is still the firm favourite to win, expect the Serb to give him some trouble. The over has been set at 22.5 games, meaning we only need three 4-2 sets and one 4-1 set to bring this bet home. Betway are offering a 1.91 price for this outcome, which we´ll gladly take.<br /><br /><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Tennis Betting Odds"><strong><em>Best bet: Over 22.5 games at 1.91 (91/100) </em></strong><strong><em>with [Betway] </em></strong><em>2u</em></a></p></div>