Ruud Rolls On In Geneva
The Norwegian lifted the trophy at the ATP 250 event last year and has looked comfortable on the Swiss clay again this week, backing up his opening-round win over Benoit Paire with a strong performance against Kokkinakis.
The second seed showcased great athleticism and pulled the 26-year-old around with his aggressive hitting to advance after one hour and 44 minutes and move to 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“It was difficult from the first to the last point,” Ruud said. “Thanasi is a player with big weapons, dangerous shots and he has been playing well this year. It is fun to see him back, I have known he has been struggling with injuries. It was the first time playing against him, so everything was new. I was able to break him at the end of the first set and play some good points in the tie-break and that sealed the match.”
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Ruud captured the sixth clay-court title of his career in Buenos Aires in February, before he enjoyed a run to the last four in Rome last week.
“I expect it to be tough,” Ruud said looking ahead to his match against Opelka. “Reilly with the serve and the altitude, it is tough to return his serve. But I will do my best and see how I can do. I always enjoy playing against Reilly. He is a similar age to myself and it will be another battle against him and hopefully it will be a good one.”
The fourth seed, who has clinched crowns in Dallas and Houston in 2022, fired 14 aces and won 85 per cent (40/47) of his first-serve points to advance to his fifth semi-final of the season, surpassing the four semi-finals he reached last year.
Frenchman Richard Gasquet backed up his standout win over World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev by overcoming Pole Kamil Majchrzak 6-2, 6-4 in 89 minutes. The 35-year-old is now into his first tour-level semi-final since last July, when he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the Umag final.
Gasquet will next play Joao Sousa after the 33-year-old defeated Ilya Ivashka 7-5, 7-5. It is the 21st time Sousa has advanced to the semi-finals at a tour-level event, but first on clay since Gstaad in 2019.