Either Casper Ruud or lucky loser Pedro Sousa will win a first ATP title on Sunday when they square off in the Argentina Open final in Buenos Aires.
Casper Ruud ?? vs Pedro Sousa ?? Match Info
Date: Sunday February 16
Tournament: ATP Buenos Aires final
Court: Court Guillermo Vilas
Time: 3.00pm local time (6.00pm GMT)
Casper Ruud vs Pedro Sousa Head-to-Head
Never played at tour-level
Casper Ruud vs Pedro Sousa Match Preview
Ruud is on verge of a milestone moment, but he must overcome lucky loser Sousa in order to win a maiden ATP title on Sunday in Buenos Aires.
The Norwegian has been in brilliant form all week, sweeping aside the likes of Pablo Andujar, Roberto Carballes Baena and Dusan Lajovic in straight sets before staging a sensational comeback to knock out home favourite Juan Ignacio Londero in three sets in Saturday’s semi-finals. Ruud was three points from defeat in the second set, but he raised his level to edge it before storming away with the match in the decider, winning 10 of the last 11 games to post a 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory and reach his second ATP final.
Coached by his father Christian (a former pro who played Roger Federer at Roland Garros in the 90s), Ruud is projected to eclipse his Dad’s career-high ranking of No. 39 by virtue of reaching the Buenos Aires final. The 21-year-old first made headlines on tour when he made the Rio de Janeiro semi-finals as a wildcard in 2017, but he took his game to the next level in 2019, breaking into the top 100 for the first time on the back of reaching the Houston final and third round of Roland Garros, where he went down to Federer. Ruud was also a semi-finalist in Sao Paolo and Kitzbuhel last season as he finished the year just outside the top 50.
As mentioned, Ruud will break into the top 40 for the first time next week after a great start to 2020 that saw him register his first two top 20 wins over John Isner and Fabio Fognini in the ATP Cup. Can he secure his maiden ATP title on Sunday?
He faces a man who has made the most of his second chance in the final. Pedro Sousa, ranked No. 145 in the world, lost in qualifying to Facundo Bagnis last weekend but sensationally finds himself playing for the title one week later, beating Facundo Diaz Acosta, Jozef Kovalik and Thiago Monteiro before receiving some more good fortune when top seed Diego Schwartzman was forced to withdraw from their semi-final showdown after injuring his leg during a dramatic quarter-final win over Pablo Cuevas that lasted nearly four hours.
“It means a lot to me,” Sousa said. “Last year was not as good as I was expecting and I started this year with some problems, but I managed to change those things and started to play well this week. I got the lucky loser spot, took my chance and am enjoying every time I’m playing in this tournament. Hopefully I can do a good job tomorrow.”
Sousa is just the third man from Portugal to reach an ATP final, and should he emerge triumphant, he’ll join Joao Sousa as the only men from the country to win a tour-level title.
Incredibly, the 31-year-old had never even made an ATP quarter-final before this week. Sousa only had 12 tour-level wins to his name throughout his entire career before this week and a peak ranking of No. 99, which he earned in February last year. There was no indication this run was coming – Sousa lost in the first round of Australian Open qualifying to World No. 507 Blake Mott, went down in the Round of 16 in the Punta del Este Challenger event in Uruguay and was eliminated in the opening round of Cordoba One qualifying to World No. 244 Juan Pablo Ficovich. However, Sousa has turned everything around in Buenos Aires and now remarkably finds himself one win away from the unlikeliest of ATP titles.
Casper Ruud vs Pedro Sousa Prediction
Sousa has nothing to lose and is playing like it this week, but I think this is Ruud’s moment and he should seize it with both hands. The Norwegian will be a top 30 player sooner rather than later and has defeated far better players this week than Sousa. I’d be shocked if Ruud let this chance slip on Sunday.