Friday, November 19, 2021

Rublev receives Ruud awakening in ATP Finals

Casper Ruud beat Andrey Rublev for the first time in five
career matches to reach the semifinals of the ATP Finals.
2017 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway edged No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) today to reach the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.
   Ruud had been 0-4 against Rublev, although three of the matches were on clay and Ruud retired in the other one.
   Both Ruud, 22, and Rublev, 24, played in Northern California Challengers as teenagers. Ruud, the son of former top-40 player Christian Ruud, advanced to the Fairfield semifinals at 19 in 2018. Rublev lost to former world No. 2 Tommy Haas in the first round in Aptos at 17 in 2015.
   Ruud is scheduled to face No. 2 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Saturday at 5 a.m. PST. Medvedev has not lost a set in two career matches against Ruud. 
   In the other semifinal, No. 1 seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic is set to meet No. 3 seed and 2018 titlist Alexander Zverev at noon. Djokovic is 7-3 against Zverev, who ended the Serb's bid for a Golden Slam in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal.
   In the first doubles semifinal, No. 1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia are slated to play No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain at 2:30 a.m. 
   No. 3 seeds and 2019 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France are set to meet No. 4 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina at 9:30 a.m.
   Tennis Channel will televise all four matches.
   Ram won the doubles title in San Jose on the ATP Tour in 2011 with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky, who retired in 2018. Salisbury took the doubles crown in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with Brydan Klein.
   Granollers advanced to the singles final in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger at age 32, losing to 20-year-old Michael Mmoh.

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