Ruud Seals Clay-Court Hat-Trick With Kitzbühel Crown
Top seed Casper Ruud became the first player in a decade to complete an ATP Tour hat-trick after defeating Pedro Martinez 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to win the Generali Open in Kitzbühel – Ruud's third title in as many weeks.
The Norwegian extended his winning streak to 12 consecutive matches, having lifted trophies at the Nordea Open (d. Coria) and Swiss Open Gstaad (d. Gaston) in July. The 22-year-old’s strong clay-court form will see him rise to eighth place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin on Monday.
“I am shaking all over my body. It feels amazing,” Ruud said. “I was very nervous at the end, I knew what I was playing for. Three in a row is something special. What a day to play the final, rain on and off all day.
“I’m just very excited and happy that these three weeks are over, and that I won all of them.”
Ruud’s victory made him the first player since Andy Murray in October 2011 to win three titles in three consecutive weeks. The former World No. 1 lifted the trophies in Bangkok (d. Young), Tokyo (d. Nadal) and Shanghai (d. Ferrer) in consecutive weeks to achieve the feat.
Ruud, who also captured the Gonet Geneva Open crown (d. Shapovalov) in May, began the first set well. He controlled the tempo with his backhand before stepping inside the baseline to attack on the forehand. He raced into a 3-1 lead and was strong on serve, not facing a break point to move one set ahead after 40 minutes before the rain began to fall.
"It was tough... we know that the weather was a bit shaky so I was prepared [for the delay]," Ruud said. "It was a bit long there in the end. We came back, only played three games, and then we had to stop again. It was a bit annoying, but we had to keep the focus and try your best. It's the same for the opponent."
After a brief resumption of play, another rain delay kept them away from the courts for three hours. When they returned just after 10 p.m., Martinez raised his level in the second set and finally claimed a late break of serve to send them into a decider. Ruud responded in kind, racing out to a 5-1 lead as he attacked the Spaniard's second serve to seal the victory after two hours and 14 minutes.
Spain’s Martinez was competing in his first ATP Tour final on Saturday. The 24-year-old secured the biggest win of his career by FedEx ATP Ranking when he overcame World No. 16 Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the championship match.