Ruud Shakes Off Schwartzman For Buenos Aires Crown
Casper Ruud is making quite the habit out of picking up trophies.
“It’s been an unbelievable week," said Ruud after sealing his seventh ATP Tour title. "To come back here and try to defend the title not from last year but from two years ago has been a challenge, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
"Playing in front of all the fans on this centre court was a great feeling again, being back on clay, coming back to South America after two years, so I hope I can come back next year and try to do the same.”
The 2020 champion recovered from a first-set lapse to quieten an energised home crowd and seal a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 win in two hours, 35 minutes in Buenos Aires.
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Top-seeded Ruud had not dropped a set this week on his way to the championship match, but he found himself in trouble before regaining his composure to see off the dogged Argentine.
A high-quality start saw both players spurn chances to break, most notably when Ruud sent a forehand long after a 42-shot marathon rally on set point that allowed Schwartzman to escape and go on to hold for 5-5.
The miss seemed to linger in the Norwegian’s mind and the Argentine took full advantage in the next game to secure the first break of the final. The World No. 15 went on to serve out for the first set as uncharacteristic errors crept into Ruud’s groundstrokes.
Despite the setback the powerful Norwegian still appeared to have the upper hand in most rallies and was a constant threat on Schwartzman’s serve. The Argentine saved four break points to hold in his opening service game of the second set, but the pressure began to tell as Ruud reeled off four games in a row from 2-2 to level the match.
Despite Schwartzman rallying to reclaim an early break in the decider, his spirit was ultimately not enough to stop Ruud as he finished with aplomb, crushing a forehand winner on match point to reduce the Argentine’s lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series to 5-3.
Schwartzman had ended a 13-year wait for an Argentine champion in Buenos Aires with his 2021 title and he fought valiantly to repeat last year’s heroics. The greater power of his opponent’s ball-striking proved too much, however. Ruud created 17 break point opportunities in the match and converted 4 of them.
The Norwegian was delighted to taste victory after going behind early on. “[There were] a lot of ups and downs," he said. "I think it was a good match overall. Diego played very good in the first set and I was struggling to get the important points.
"I think we were both a bit nervous. I just tried to fight and stay in there the whole match because I know how things can change in a tennis match and luckily, they did my way today.”
Ruud was also hopeful that the victory would pave the way for more success in 2022. “It means a lot," he said, "I think this is the perfect start and it will give me confidence for the rest of the season and also for the next weeks when I am here in South America.”
Ruud is now unbeaten after two appearances in Buenos Aires, and Sunday’s win extended the Norwegian’s winning streak in ATP 250 events on clay to 18.