Ruud Escapes Norrie For First Win In Turin
The victory also keeps Ruud’s semi-final push alive in Turin: Novak Djokovic has already won the Green Group and claimed the first semi-final spot, leaving a win-and-you’re-in matchup for Ruud and Andrey Rublev on Friday. Norrie cannot advance.
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Playing in a rematch of the San Diego Open final, Ruud extended his ATP Head2Head lead to 2-0 over Norrie by firing 10 aces and 32 winners across one hour and 51 minutes.
“The first set went away a bit too quickly. I think I started off quite well, and then I just had some game points that I threw away,” Ruud reflected in an on-court interview. “Cameron is a great baseline player, he makes you play a lot of balls and he runs down a lot of balls and he has a tricky flat backhand, here on these courts it’s a really effective shots.
“I wasn’t getting the feel of his shots at the beginning, so I made quite a few mistakes. For the first set-and-a-half, he was the better player. My serve saved me a bit today on some big points… That’s how tennis can turn quickly, just a break or a couple of points here and there.”
Norrie, who missed out on direct qualification in 11th position in the FedEx Race To Turin, was called on today to replace Stefanos Tsitsipas (elbow injury) to finally make his debut at the season finale.
“I woke up today prepared to play Stefanos, knowing that I was the underdog and that I could play freely, and then you hear that he’s pulling out,” Ruud said. “Obviously I wish him a speedy recovery.. but then everything changed and I was feeling the pressure a little bit more. This was an opportunity for me to get my first win.”
Norrie took advantage of his opponent’s early lapse, and was in complete control in the first set. He kept his unforced error count low and moved the ball around the court to ensure that Ruud didn’t impose his heavy-hitting game. Norrie won the last five games of the first set with back-to-back breaks of serve.
After needing a set and a half to settle into the contest, Ruud dialed up his heavy hitting and ramped up the pressure against Norrie. The Brit eventually surrendered serve late in the second set, and in the third, a double fault on break point gave Ruud the decisive 3-2 lead.
Did You Know...
Ruud is the first Norwegian player to compete in Nitto ATP Finals tournament history (since 1970).