Casper Ruud-Denis Shapovalov: 2-0 (7-6(7), 7-5)
Casper Ruud continues to impress in Rome. In Friday’s quarter-final against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, in a match between two equally old and equally good tennis players, it was the Norwegian’s stability and control that gave him a well-deserved win.
Shapovalov became Ruud’s quarter-final opponent after defeating Rafael Nadal in three sets on Thursday, in a match where Nadal won the first set 6-1, before a combination of perfect tennis from the Canadian and a A tired Nadal only sees Shapovalov turn the game around.
Against Ruud, on the other hand, the Canadian was mostly concerned with saving break points, which he managed 14 times before the break.
It was the second time that Ruud and Shapovalov met in a tournament. The first time was in the Geneva Open final last year where Ruud won his first of a total of five titles in 2021.
A load of break points
First set: Ruud dodged a break point at 1-1 but couldn’t take advantage of four break chances that presented themselves when Shapovalov had to serve at 3-4.
Without any service breaks, an equal and thrilling first set went to a tie-break where Ruud first saved a set point, after which he himself had the opportunity to decide the opponent’s serve , but Shapovalov held on and made it 7.-seven.
A clean roll to Ruud’s advantage gave the Norwegian another set point, this time on his own serve. The Norwegian seized the opportunity and served the set 9-7 in the tie-break.
The second set continued in the same vein as the first: Ruud wasted two more break chances when Shapovalov served at 3-3. A few games later, the Norwegian had to save a set point on his own serve at 4-5.
Then came the most extreme game of the game when Shapovalov had to serve at 5-5. Ruud pushed as many as nine break points in a game-long fireworks display. Shapovalov hung on, saving eight before the very first break of the game was a fact – for Ruud who got up 6-5.
In total, Ruud played up to 15 break points and only had to fend off two – one in each set.
Ruud then finished the match by serving in the second set 7-5 and signed the match with a service ace.
What a fight!
Maybe another meeting with Novak Djokovic
The victory means Ruud is ready for the semi-finals for the second time in Rome. In 2020, the Norwegian also reached the semi-finals in the Italian capital – where the opponent was Novak Djokovic. Ruud had a ball stopped, but lost the match 2-0.
Now there could be another semi-final encounter against world number one Novak Djokovic if the Serb beats Felix Auger-Aliassime in the evening game later on Friday.
Updated! Novak Djokovic beat Felix Auger-Aliassime and will meet Casper Ruud in the semi-final on Saturday “not before” at 7:30 p.m.
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