Ruud Saves 1 M.P., Keeps Winning Streak Alive In Kitzbühel
The Norwegian has been dominant on clay in July, capturing back-to-back titles at the Nordea Open and the Swiss Open Gstaad in the past two weeks. However, hampered by a slight arm injury — for which he called the trainer to court in the second set — Ruud had to show his battling qualities against Ymer to advance in two hours and 28 minutes.
"I am just playing good tennis. [My arm] did not feel so good today, but that is part of the sport," Ruud said in his on-court interview. "A lot of players have pain here and there. Today the arm was working a little bit better after treatment, so hopefully it can be fully recovered by tomorrow."
The 22-year-old rallied as Ymer served for the match twice at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set, squandering a match point in the tenth game. World No. 14 Ruud then played more consistently in the third set to deny his Swedish opponent a first ATP Tour semi-final appearance. The top seed has now claimed 26 clay-court victories this year.
"It was a very very tough match," Ruud added. "Mikael played very well for two sets, and had the chance to win. I have been a bit lucky this year in a couple of matches where I have saved match points. It is small margins in this sport. Sometimes in tennis, it is not the guy who plays better that wins."
Ruud will seek a 10th straight win in his next match against Arthur Rinderknech after the Frenchman’s best-ever season continued to go from strength to strength on Thursday. The 26-year-old defeated third seed Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 6-1 in Kitzbühel to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.
Rinderknech, currently at a career-high No. 91 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, struck the ball with great power and depth throughout to advance in 80 minutes. The Frenchman has now claimed 13 tour-level wins this season, having not won a match at this level before 2021.
“It is amazing, it is such a nice city,” Rinderknech said. “It is such a pleasure to be in the semi-finals. Yesterday, I won 7-6 in the third and it was such a tough match. I went with my friend up the hill and took the cable car and went biking. It is such a nice region. I love it here.”
Altmaier, who beat Mager on the way to the semi-finals at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag last week, won 74 per cent (51/69) of his first-service points to advance in two hours and 34 minutes
The World No. 135 will next play Spaniard Pedro Martinez. The 24-year-old backed up his career-best win by FedEx ATP Ranking over countryman Roberto Bautista Agut by defeating qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-2.Martinez, who upset World No. 17 Gael Monfils at Wimbledon to reach the third round, will be competing in his first ATP Tour semi-final on Friday.