Finalist at Roland-Garros, finalist at the US Open and, now, finalist of the Masters: Casper Ruud (4th in the world this week) really did not go by chance to a victory of the first world place, at the beginning of September, in New York.
By eliminating the Russian Andrey Rublev (7th ATP) on Saturday evening with authority, in the semi-finals of the Turin Masters (6-2, 6-4 in 1h08), the Norwegian demonstrated once again that he was very strong on all the tennis courts that are not covered with grass and that he was also, at 23, in full possession of his technical means and in total control of his playing identity.
If Rublev hits harder and stands less far from his baseline (there is more than a meter difference in the positioning of the two players at the rally, on average), he is also much more distractable from then on that a grain of sand diverts it from its steamroller mode.
17/20 to finish the first set
At 2-1 for him and 40A on the opposing service, he did indeed feel like he had made the best start and the cards in hand. Didn’t he lead 4-1 in his face-to-face. But it was just in fact just before derailing, jostled by the solidity of the opposite, and perhaps by the accumulated fatigue to get out of his hen. In any case, he went so far as to lose 17 of the last 20 points of the first set, lost 6-2.
Completely serene in his choices, sure of his strength, lively on his legs, more stable than ever on the backhand side, diligent and intense with each shot, Ruud then broke at the start of the second set so as not to give Rublev the slightest chance. to calm down. He quickly led 4-0 and this semi-final, despite a late break from the Russian, at 2-5, thus retained its uniqueness until the end. In just over an hour, on a white game, the case was closed (6-2, 6-4).
The great Djokovic challenge to finish
Sunday, in the final, Casper Ruud will have a huge challenge to meet to end the best season of his life in style, in front of his whole family, present in Turin. If successful, he will win the biggest title of his career and end the year in second place in the world, 500 points behind Carlos Alcaraz and 300 ahead of Rafael Nadal.
But he will again have to not deviate from his certainties and, probably, play one of the matches of his life, since it is the unsinkable Novak Djokovic who will stand up against him. In three duels with the Serb, Casper Ruud has never managed to win a set. A year ago almost to the day, in the same playing conditions, the Norwegian lost 7-6 (4), 6-2 in Turin, in chickens. Since then, he has grown a lot.