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Ricky’s tennis picks for Thursday at Roland Garros: Ruud vs. Ruusuvuori and Tiafoe vs. Goffin

Casper Ruud of Norway topped Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in an emotional Roland Garros opener. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

Casper Ruud ended Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s career on Tuesday and the Norwegian will be back on the court for Thursday action against Emil Ruusuvuori. Frances Tiafoe vs. David Goffin is another intriguing matchup.

Here are my previews and picks for those two matches.

(8) Casper Ruud vs. Emil Ruusuvuori

Ruud and Ruusuvuori will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash in round two of the French Open on Thursday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Ruud’s way in dominant fashion; in straight sets at the 2020 U.S. Open and 6-2, 6-2 earlier this spring in Barcelona.

That most recent result is especially unsurprising because Ruud is one of the best clay-courters in the world and Ruusuvuori is more comfortable on hard courts. The 23-year-old Finn needed five sets to get past a struggling Ugo Humbert on Tuesday, so that is not ideal preparation for a much tougher second-round matchup. Ruud also endured a difficult opener, but that wasn’t an easy situation for him in the Frenchman’s final match and Tsonga treated the home crowd to an impressive performance. Count on the eighth-ranked Norwegian settling down and once again taking care of business with ease against Ruusuvuori.

Pick: Ruud in 3

David Goffin faces 24th-seeded Frances Tiafoe at Roland Garros. EPA-EFE/SEBASTIEN NOGIER

(24) Frances Tiafoe vs. David Goffin

It took Tiafoe eight years to win a main-draw match at Roland Garros (six main-draw losses and one in qualifying), but he finally did it on Tuesday. The 27th-ranked American silenced the French fans with a 7-5, 7-5, 7-6(5) victory over Benjamin Bonzi.

Tiafoe will have the crowd against him again on Thursday, as Goffin always enjoys raucous support from the Belgian contingent in Paris. Of course, it’s not like he needs any extra help. Goffin is back up to No. 48 in the world thanks in part to a title in Marrakech plus third-round performances in Monte-Carlo and Madrid. The 31-year-old opened on Tuesday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Jiri Lehecka. Additional good news for Goffin is that he leads the head-to-head series with Tiafoe 3-1. The veteran has the edge in matchup history, the surface, and past Roland Garros performances, so this should be mostly straightforward.

Pick: Goffin in 4

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.