Turin: World N0. 4 Casper Ruud produced a ruthless semi-finals performance on Saturday at the ATP Finals, where the Norwegian dispatched Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 in Turin to set a title clash against Novak Djokovic.Ruud struck the ball with consistency and power and was crucial at key moments as he converted four of four break points to proceed to a comfortable triumph at the Pala Alpitour.
The Norwegian held firm to seal his place in the summit clash of the ATP Finals in just 69 minutes. “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,” ATP.com quoted Ruud as saying after his triumph.
“I don’t think I did when I was serving for it [the first time]. Andrey hit some great returns, aggressive with the forehand. Of course, you tend to hesitate a little bit. 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,” he further added.
After some ferocious rallies in the early going at the Pala Alpitour, Ruud and Rublev seemed to be in for a tough battle, but Rublev’s string of blunders from 40/15 gave Ruud a break in the fifth game. The Norwegian then took complete control, winning seven more straight games to get within two wins of a historic triumph.
Rublev made a late comeback, going from 1-5 to 4-5, but it was too little, too late, as his loss was defined by his 23 unforced errors. Ruud, on the other hand, only made eight while still hitting 20 winners to earn his 51st tour-level victory of the year.
“I got a couple of good beatings from Andrey, so it was nice to sort of get revenge from that. And we haven’t played since here last year. I’m not going to get ahead of myself, but I guess I have a good thing going against him in Turin,” said Ruud.
On the other hand, Serbian star Novak Djokovic stormed into the final of the ongoing ATP Final after a win over America’s Taylor Fritz in the semifinal. Djokovic passed a stern semis test, defeating the American by 7-6(5), 7-6(6).”He’s a player that doesn’t have many weaknesses at all. But he’s human. He’s had a great year… But he is human. He lost two weeks ago to Rune in the [Rolex Paris Masters] final,” said Ruud of Djokovic.
“It’s not like he plays these finals every day of his career, in his life. I’m sure he will also feel a little bit of pressure. There’s a lot on the line. [In the Pepperstone ATP 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,” he added.