Ruud Sails past Rublev, Meets Djokovic on Sunday's Final

Ruud Sails past Rublev, Meets Djokovic on Sunday's Final
Casper Ruud opening his campaign at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy. November 13, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour.

The night session at the Pala Alpitour saw World No. 4 Casper Ruud cruising past sixth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets to advance for the first time in his career to the championship match on Saturday in Turin.

Making his second consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, third seed Casper Ruud sailed past World No. 7 Andrey Rublev with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph after 69 minutes, setting a meeting with seventh seed Novak Djokovic on Sunday’s grand finale.

In his on-court interview, the Norwegian commented: “It’s tough sometimes because things are obviously going great, but sometimes they can go almost too well. So you feel like you can do anything with the ball, and you can get a little bit ahead of yourself.”

I don’t think I did when I was serving for it [the first time]. Andrey hit some great returns, aggressive with the forehand.

Adding: “Luckily for me, I go out there at 5-4 and serve with new balls, so that helps a lot. I knew that I had the backup break. I wasn’t stressing too much. Everything sort of was going my way today.”

Into the Finals for the first time in his second appearance, the U.S. Open runner-up made a solid start to the opener in the fast-paced conditions at the Pala Alpitour on Saturday night.

Applying pressure over Rublev, Ruud converted his first breakpoint in the fifth game and held to take a 4-2 lead.

Imposing his rhythm, wise behind his serve, he marched to produce a double break in the seventh game to serve out the first set, wrapping up a 6-2 win after 32 minutes.

Norway’s top racquet maintained momentum into the second set, quickly clinching an early break to edge his opponent 2-0.

The first player to reach the final four at the year-end event continued to control play to extend his advantage at 3-0 with a double break, while frustration grew from the other side of the net, as the Moscow native found himself with his back against the wall.

Untroubled by the 25-year-old, who found no solutions against his consistency, Ruud imposed his game, firing up his forehand with great precision.

Fernando Vicente’s pupil found some breathing room to hold his serve, producing some heavy hitting in the process, breaking Ruud in his first attempt to grab the match at 5-2.

The 12-time titlist would narrow the gap at 3-5, backing it up at 4-5.

However, the man, who thus far in 2022, lifted trophies in Buenos Aires, Geneva, and Gstaad, did not let slip the win, notching the set 6-2 to move into the year-end championships final.

On Sunday, he will face five-time champion Novak Djokovic, who comes from playing a dramatic three-hour match on Friday, in which he overcame Daniil Medvedev showing his champion status.

Ruud spoke about the Serbian player after the match, stressing: “He’s a player that doesn’t have many weaknesses at all.”

He’s had a great year. But he is human. He lost two weeks ago to Rune in the [Rolex Paris Masters] final. It’s not like he plays these finals every day of his career, in his life.”

Adding: “I’m sure he will also feel a little bit of pressure. There’s a lot on the line. [In the Rankings], I may be ahead of him, but I feel like the underdog. He has won this tournament five times, and I’ve seen them all on TV. How great he has played.

On Saturday, Djokovic put down American Taylor Fritz to reach his eighth championship match in 15 appearances, seeking to win his sixth title on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ruud progressed from the round-robin stage to the semifinals with a 2-1 score, opening his campaign with a victory over Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

On Tuesday, the Roland Garros finalist defeated Fritz in a three-set thriller to nail his spot in the last four. And on Thursday, he lost to World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

The win over Rublev left him one match away from a maiden Finals title, the biggest of his career.

Djokovic leads their series 3-1, having met for the last time in Rome to play the Masters 1000 semifinals, an encounter the eventual champion won in straight sets last May.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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