2019 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship (Houston) - ATP 250

Who wins the title?

  • Johnson

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Chardy

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Norrie

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Opelka

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Fritz

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • McDonald

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Thompson

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Querrey

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ruud

    Votes: 4 30.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 38.5%

  • Total voters
    13
Ruud way too slow. Ruud is unprecedented in my mind. Magnus Norman just not even close in style, but he dominated players from ground in similar manner at his best.

The big change in Ruud for me is his backhand which has been a liability. At this event he could hold his own and hit consistently enough with spin and depth. This better backhand allows his forehand to get in play much more. Also amazed at some of the Ruud backhand winners. Til this point players could pretty much forfeit the match against Ruud if they can't keep their 2nd serves away from his forehand. As the backhand gets better and he knows its coming Ruud is going to start doing more and more damage from that side. His forehand is so good it forces very predictable 2nd serving from opponents. Hope Ruud qualifies in Barcelona and gets high enough to start getting direct entry this year at some more ATP level clay events. Looks like he's going to hit qualifiers at Madrid and Rome so this Ruud's Time Has Come.
You saying his backhand has improved? Must have been quite a poor shot then, damn. Watching him throughout the tournament, I thought his backhand was entirely average, the definiton of "rally shot". IMO, he lacked both pace and depth consistently and rarely did he ever have the awareness to change direction DTL, or maybe just unwilling to. :unsure: Agree with the defense/speed part, he was certainly more impressive when dictating with that heavy forehand.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
How would you rate him as a clay court guy specifically relative to the other NextGen guys?

I tend to like his prospects. I’ve been watching footage of him on Youtube. I saw him demolish De Minaur on clay for example.
He'll be top 5 on clay; not so good on hard courts.:cry:
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
You saying his backhand has improved? Must have been quite a poor shot then, damn. Watching him throughout the tournament, I thought his backhand was entirely average, the definiton of "rally shot". IMO, he lacked both pace and depth consistently and rarely did he ever have the awareness to change direction DTL, or maybe just unwilling to. :unsure: Agree with the defense/speed part, he was certainly more impressive when dictating with that heavy forehand.
The backhand was much worse. Far more erratic and Ruud usually missing when he went for much of anything. Generally it was a bit flatter much of the time and finally they've got him hitting it heavy most of the time. That was a big improvement and I thought Garin's backhand was spectacular during the match so for Ruud to hold his own and come out on top a few times with some hard hit winners was a big change. Saw him hit quite a few eye catching ones, but for the most part he was on defense. His winners probably from him anticipating the backhand shot and able to time things better some of the time with that advantage.

On clay a deep and heavy backhand does a lot. Tsitsipas one hander cross court on clay probably the best. Ruud was at least resetting and defending some with his backhand. Its a huge thing that allows him to be more patient and wait for the forehand. With Tsitsipas on clay the looping crosscourt backhand resets the point and puts opponent on their heals. Murray's slice was a similar shot on hard courts that got him back into a lot of points, but opponent not so much on their heals, just unable to punish the Murray slice. Cross court deep and heavy is a good option for Ruud as taking the backhand right now into opponents forehand is very dangerous. Better to just grind away cross court for the most part until he can start constructing with the forehand. He runs people a lot so its a good game plan again most.

The Ruud forehand is sublime. The commies I heard were on drugs to call it a middle of the pack forehand. The Ruud forehand has a combination of pace, spin, and placement that is just relentless on clay. First the heaviness with depth gets a somewhat shorter ball (or an outright error) and then Ruud slowly peels open the point. I prefer it to Thiem's and to the Nadal short nonsense. Ruud dictates with the forehand. On song the Ruud forehand is easily my favorite clay court forehand of all time.
 
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