Diego Schwartzman and Casper Ruud will square off in the Indian Wells Round 16 on Wednesday.
This has been a rather difficult year for Schwartzman. He hasn’t played very well in 2021, and his recent performances have not been spectacular either. Diego must consider himself very lucky to reach this stage, as he came back from the brink of defeat against Cressy (match points down) and Evans (set and break down). His fighting spirit helped him through, but his opposition also facilitated those comebacks, as both Cressy and Evans imploded.
Casper Ruud is playing some of the best tennis of his life right now, as he himself recently admitted after his San Diego triumph last week (def. Murray, Sonego, Dimitrov and Norrie on the way). Riding an 8 match winning streak, the Norwegian defeated Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets and Lloyd Harris in three sets this week to reach the Round 16.
Schwartzman leads the H2H 4-2 (2-1 on hard courts), but Ruud won the last two meetings (both this year, Monte Carlo and Cincinnati), and won them convincingly.
Some might say that the super slow conditions in Indian Wells could favor Schwartzman, but I beg to differ. First of all, Ruud is perfectly fine playing on slow courts, and second of all the high bounce of the ball here in IW can create some issues for the rather short Schwartzman.
I have mentioned this a couple of times on Twitter recently: I think Schwartzman is on a downtrend, and is pretty much done in terms of beating top players and fighting for the final rounds of big tournaments.
I have seen him so many times this year being overpowered, outclassed, and left with no solutions against the good players. One of those instances was against Ruud in Monte Carlo, when Schwartzman was obliterated, even worse than the 3-6 3-6 scoreline would suggest. I haven’t seen his second match of the year against Ruud, in Cincinnati, but it was probably more of the same considering the 4-6 3-6 result.
Schwartzman is clearly not in his best form, and he is struggling for a long time now. His fighting spirit can get him over the hump against guys like Cressy or Evans, but an in-form Top 10 player like Ruud is a completely different task.
Yes, Diego will probably be pumped by his comebacks in the previous rounds, he even found some good rhythm in the final stages of the Evans match, but it’s hard to believe that will be enough today. Oftentimes in Schwartzman’s matches it’s not even about him playing poorly. Even when playing well, the top players are still dominating him. He might have lost a step, and that has a disastrous impact considering his playing style and lack of weapons.
Ruud is so much better right now, he’s in excellent form, he destroyed Schwartzman in two matches this year already, and it’s hard to see him losing this. I believe he will keep hitting through Diego and leave the Argentinian with no solutions yet again. The odds are around 1.40 on Ruud and that might not be high enough for everybody, but for me it’s sufficient to attack with a 10/10 stakes bet. Prediction: Diego Schwartzman – Casper Ruud 5-7 2-6.