Ruud Rallies Past Berrettini To Retain Gstaad Crown
The Swiss air brings out the best in Casper Ruud.
Second seed Berrettini appeared in control in the final at the clay-court ATP 250 event after clinching the opening set and carving out the only three break points of the second. Yet Ruud dug deep to clinch the second-set tie-break and he dominated the final set with his high-powered forehand as he secured his ninth ATP Tour title, and his eighth on clay, with a two-hour, 34-minute win.
“I changed [things] up a little bit in the third set especially, which helped,” said Ruud when asked how he had completed his comeback win. “The games and the points go by here fast. If you are not ready and focussed, you can get broken or you can break, because the conditions allow you to.
“So it was key for me to hold my serve, I did that in the second set. Saving those break points was very important for me and everything went in my favour in the tie-break. So that was a bit fortunate. I just tried to keep that momentum going in the third set and I was able to get a break and play better and better throughout the third set.”
“I felt really close to winning the title, but that’s tennis," said Berrettini after the match. "A couple of balls went out by a few centimetres, and I found myself in the third. I have to say he started to play better and I felt the momentum switched a little bit. I’m proud of the week and the way I fought through the whole tournament, but now it is tough not to think about the final.”
With his successful title defence, Ruud improved his tour-level record in Switzerland to 16-0. In addition to his Gstaad titles, the 23-year-old has also lifted the trophy at the past two editions of the Gonet Geneva Open.
“I think Switzerland is a country with a lot of history now in tennis, winning a lot of Grand Slams with Roger [Federer] and Stan [Wawrinka] the last 18 or 19 years," said Ruud. "So it’s been an inspiration to everyone around the world, including myself, that they are able to come from a small country, sort of like Norway. Everything about Switzerland reminds me a little bit about Norway.”
Berrettini and Ruud were tied at 2-2 in their ATP Head2Head series coming into Sunday’s final, and that record was reflected in a tight first set that was ultimately decided by crucial moments in the fifth and sixth games. Berrettini’s clean ballstriking, particularly off the forehand wing, enabled him to convert his second break point for a 3-2 lead and the Italian then fended off three break-back chances in the next game.
That flurry of break point opportunities was followed by a period of serving dominance. After Berrettini stayed solid behind his delivery to see out the first set, seven of the 12 games in the second set were held by the server to love. Despite Ruud appearing under pressure after dropping the opening point on serve in the tie-break, the top seed crushed his forehand consistently to reel off five points in a row for a 5/1 lead that proved unassailable for 2018 champion Berrettini.
That breakthrough seemed to energise Ruud further, and the World No. 5 dictated proceedings in the final set as a double break of the previously impenetrable Berrettini serve ensured the Norwegian ultimately eased to victory having won 80 per cent (45/56) of points behind his own delivery.
“It’s not easy to talk after such a tough loss, but congrats to Casper and his team," said Berrettini at the trophy ceremony. "You’re having an unbelievable season, with the final [at Roland Garros] and winning a lot of matches.”
By snapping Berrettini’s 12-match winning streak, Ruud improved his match record for 2022 to 35-13. The victory also consolidates Ruud’s position in fourth place in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he attempts to qualify for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals for the second time.