World number eight, Casper Ruud, retained his title at the Geneva Open by defeating Portuguese Joao Sousa in a three-hour battle, remaining undefeated at the Parc des Eaux-Vives Tennis Club de Geneve Saturday.
Following a slow start to the clay swing, Norwegian Casper Ruud rallied to overcome in-form Joao Sousa, 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(1), after a three-hour, thrilling championship match, capturing his eighth ATP title.
In his on-court interview, the second seed stressed: “It was one of the craziest matches that I have ever played. It was a lot of up and down.”
“Sousa was close to winning, and then, suddenly, everything turns around, and this is tennis. It is always tough for the player who is not winning.”
The World No. 8 captured his second title this season at the Gonet Geneva Open, having emerged victorious early in February at the Argentina Open - also contested on the clay surface, edging defending champion Diego Schwartzman.
However, when the clay swing set off in Monte Carlo last April, Ruud failed to display his best tennis on his favorite surface.
The 23-year-old arrived in the Swiss city, coming from contesting the semifinal at the Mutua Madrid Open a week ago - lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, his best result on the European clay swing in 2022 until Saturday.
Speaking at Center Court in Switzerland’s largest tennis club, he added: “This win feels so good, but you have to give a lot of credit to Joao because he fought back from one set down and has been playing well all week. It was just a matter of one or two points today, and luckily they went in my favor.”
The Oslo native took the lead, sealing a tight opener 7-6(3), decided by small margins.
Back to court, World No. 79 Sousa, who advanced to the final by toppling Richard Gasquet in straight sets, was up a break over Ruud in the second set, opening a 3-2 lead, playing his best tennis in quite some time.
The 33-year-old, aiming to claim a fifth ATP career title, raised his level to come back from one set down, earning a 6-4 win.
The third set got underway, with Sousa continuing to showcase his good run of form, saving two match points to force a third set tiebreak though it was not enough to halt the defending champion, who fought back from 3-5 down to close out 7-6(1), earning the victory.
Despite falling in Geneva, Sousa’s impressive run guaranteed him to climb to World No. 63 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings from Monday.
For his part, Ruud will next open his campaign at the French Open on Monday, when the eight seed will meet Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the first and last time on tour.
The former world number five and two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist announced early in April that he would end his professional career at his home grand slam.
“It is with great emotion that I announce today my decision to stop my professional career at the next French Open. So many incredible moments, so much joy shared with a public that gave me a lot. Hoping for one last thrill with you,” the 37-year-old wrote on his Twitter account.
The French Open will run from May 22nd to June 5th in Paris.