Ruud Edges Bautista Agut To Reach Montreal QFs
The Norwegian recovered from a slow start as he upped his intensity in the second set to level. Following a 69-minute rain-delay, the fourth seed opened his shoulders in the decider to finish the job after three hours and 17 minutes at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.
In front of a lively crowd, Ruud found greater depth, consistency and topspin on his backhand in the third set, which allowed him to force Bautista Agut back and close points with his powerful forehand.
“It was a tough battle. The first two sets were two hours and 20 minutes. Good intensity and I was feeling it a bit in the legs,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “Luckily there was some rain, which gave me some time to breath out and regain some energy and I can thank the weather gods today, giving me some extra time and energy.”
The 23-year-old, who advanced to the quarter-finals in Toronto last season, has improved his ATP Head2Head series record against the Spaniard to 1-2 and will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“This win was a bit extra special. It was against a player I had never beaten before,” Ruud added. “Such good quality two first sets. I didn’t feel I was able to find any holes in his game, which was frustrating. He is a very tough player, one of the best over the past six, seven, eight years. Someone I think all young players should look up to. How professional he is and how great a fighter, runner and competitor he is.”
Ruud has won three tour-level titles this year, while he advanced to his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami in April, losing to 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Ruud is now 37-13 on the season, while he holds a 10-3 record on hard courts.
Bautista Agut was aiming to reach the quarter-finals at the Canadian Masters 1000 event for the fourth consecutive year. The 34-year-old had won his past six matches, having lifted the trophy in Kitzbühel last month.