Ruud Saves 1 M.P., Keeps Winning Streak Alive In Kitzbühel

Rinderknech and Martinez also advance

Top seed Casper Ruud survived a major scare on Thursday at the Generali Open as he saved a match point before defeating Swede Mikael Ymer 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 to reach the semi-finals 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.

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“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.”

Rinderknech was competing in his fifth ATP Tour quarter-final on Thursday, having reached the last eight at the Swiss Open Gstaad and Nordea Open earlier this month.

Daniel Altmaier’s strong form continued as the German defeated Gianluca Mager for the second time in as many weeks with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory.

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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.

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