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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Monte-Carlo final: Ruud vs. Tsitsipas

Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers (fourth time at the ATP level) when they collide in the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Sunday.

When this week started (and especially after Carlos Alcaraz pulled out due to injury), a final between Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner–the top two players in the world–seemed almost inevitable. That probability only grew stronger heading into the semis, when Djokovic faced Ruud and Sinner went up against Tsitsipas. Instead, both results turned out to be surprises.

Ruud’s 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 defeat of Djokovic marked his maiden win over a No. 1 player in the world and also his first over Djokovic, having previously been 0-5. The world No. 10’s first trip to the title match of this tournament has also included victories over Alejandro Tabilo, Hubert Hurkacz, and Ugo Humbert.

Even though Tsitsipas is already a two-time Monte-Carlo champion (2021 and 2022), his third appearance in the final is most definitely unexpected since it has come basically out of nowhere. He is down at No. 12 in the rankings and really didn’t have anything more than a semifinal showing in Los Cabos to speak of this year prior to arriving in Monte-Carlo. Before upsetting Sinner, Tsitsipas beat Laslo Djere, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Alexander Zverev, and Karen Khachanov.

The Greek’s Los Cabos run came to an end at the hands of none other than Ruud, who beat him 6-4, 7-6(4). That gave the Norwegian a 2-1 lead in the head-to-head series at the ATP level after they split a pair of 2021 encounters (Ruud got the job done 7-6(4), 6-4 in Madrid before Tsitsipas prevailed 6-1, 6-4 in Toronto).

This should be a fun one between two players who have been outstanding the whole week and have always been stellar on clay. Based on his 1-0 clay-court record against Tsitsipas and his overall body of work in 2024 that is far superior to that of his opponent, an edge goes to Ruud.

Pick: Ruud in 3

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