Ruud Dispatches Felix, Reaches Montreal SFs

Norwegian next plays Hurkacz

Casper Ruud reached his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the season Friday, when he capitalised on a misfiring performance from Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime to advance 6-1, 6-2 in Montreal.

The fourth seed recovered from dropping serve in the opening game as he played the more consistent and aggressive tennis throughout the clash on Court Central, with home favourite Auger-Aliassime leaking errors from both wings.

The 23-year-old committed nine unforced errors in the match compared to Auger-Aliassime’s 25, while he hit with great accuracy to pull around the Canadian, who looked nervous in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

“It was one of those days where everything goes in one favour and luckily it was in my favour. With a player like Felix, you need to rely on some margins going your way. I didn’t expect them to all go on my side,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “It was a bit of a difficult start. I got broken but then was able to turn everything around. I hit my spots, made the shots I needed to and make him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

”I am sure Felix has played better than he has today. He has for sure, I have seen it before. It is a pity because he is playing at home. Maybe that was a factor, you could be nervous, but I am not going to talk for Felix. It was a big moment. This arena was full today and I am lucky I was able to win.”

With his 74-minute victory, Ruud has improved to 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series and will next play eighth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz.

The Norwegian has won three tour-level titles this year, while he advanced to his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami in April, losing to Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Ruud, who is up to No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is now 38-13 on the season, while he holds an 11-3 record on hard courts.

“The last hard-court tournament I played in was in Miami where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here,” Ruud said. “I didn’t think it was too likely, being the first hard-court tournament back, but I have been playing great from the first point in the first match.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

After breaks were exchanged at the start of the first set, it was Ruud who found his range to drive ahead. The fourth seed struck his watertight backhand with precision and looked dominant on return, with Auger-Aliassime making only 45 per cent of his first serves in the opening set.

The Norwegian pushed further ahead at the start of the second set, firing a number of stunning passing shots against the sixth seed, who hit a double fault to fall a double break down in the second set. Ruud, who won 10 consecutive games in the match and hit 22 winners, held serve for the seventh time to comfortably secure victory.

Sixth seed Auger-Aliassime was the first Canadian to reach the quarter-finals at the hard-court event since Denis Shapovalov enjoyed a breakthrough run to the last four in Montreal in 2017.

The 22-year-old downed Yoshihito Nishioka and Cameron Norrie in straight sets earlier this week, but struggled throughout against Ruud in front of a packed home crowd.

Did You Know?
Ruud would rise to second in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin if he wins the title in Montreal on Sunday, while he would climb to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, surpassing his previous career-high No. 5

More stories like this in: