ATP Finals 2021, Turin, Italy: A must-win encounter for both players. In a high voltage drama, Casper Rudd edges out Andrey Rublev 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) to qualify for the semifinals.
Having won one and lost one, Both players were eager for this particular clash with Rublev being the favorite to face Medvedev. The Russian will now face Casper Rudd in the semifinals to defend his title.
“The court is playing very fast and Andrey plays very fast,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “He rips the ball harder than anyone on the Tour and serves very well on his first serve. We all want to play under control and with initiative, but it is not easy against Rublev because he makes you run all the time and play defensively all the time. I knew I had to fight fire with fire. On the big points, I think I played quite smartly.”
It took two hours and 24 minutes to decide the winner of this clash where two sets went into tiebreakers. Finishing second in the Red Group, he will be facing Green Group winner, Daniil Medvedev. while the World No. 1 will play Alexander Zverev.
“I am just enjoying the moment,” Ruud said. “I am looking forward to tomorrow already. It is going to be another tough battle, a different kind of player from today, but one of the best in the world and he has proven himself as one of the best over the past two or three years. I have played against him a couple of times and lost both, but I know a little bit about what I am going to face and it is going to be a fun challenge.”
Starting this match Rublev had the upper hand in the ATP head-to-head records against Rudd. However, Rudd using his aggressive playstyle fired 34 winners to open his win account against the Russian.
Rublev was dominant in the first set with over 92% first-serve points and not facing a single breakpoint. The Russian sealed the opener in 34 minutes when Ruud hit a backhand wide.
The second set was much more equal, with Rudd battling hard to stay alive. Breaks were exchanged in the middle of the second set, and after that Rudd forced his way to the decider set.
It was a powerful matchup with both players using immense power behind the ball. After Rublev broke, Ruud responded immediately to level at 3-3. The Russian had an opportunity at 5-5 gaining a breakpoint however Rudd resisted with his forehand to take the set to a tie-break. In a tight tie-break, Ruud held his nerve to seal a massive win.
“It is tough,” Rublev said. “Hopefully I can go through it to get a good lesson, which will give me a huge improvement.
“In the moment I got tight, which is normal,” Rublev said. “Casper played well. He has a great forehand. One of the best on Tour. He dictates with it and hits the ball well. Because I was tight, I was serving too slowly and he returned aggressively on the forehand and I could not do anything.”