Ruud On A Roll In Santiago, 19-Year-Old Seyboth Wild Reaches Maiden Final
The ‘Golden Swing’ in South America has proven a successful stretch on the calendar for Casper Ruud throughout his young career. Last season, he broke into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings during this time. But this year has been even better.
Ruud defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes on Saturday to reach the Chile Dove Men+Care Open final. The 21-year-old, who two weeks ago became the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour singles title in Buenos Aires, is into his second tour-level final of the month.
“I feel good. Santiago is the last tournament of this South American swing. I enjoy coming to South America so much. It’s been a special place for me, really,” Ruud said. “Last year I broke into the Top 100, now I’m playing two finals. It’s been a very solid trip for me. This is very nice to end the swing here.”
If Ruud defeats #NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild on Sunday, he is projected to climb to a career-high World No. 28 on Monday. Ruud became the highest-ranked Norwegian in FedEx ATP Rankings history by reaching No. 34 earlier this month.
The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor used his forehand to control play against Ramos-Vinolas. Although the Spaniard has reached an ATP Masters 1000 final on clay — doing so at the 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters — he struggled to find anything in his game to wrestle away rallies from Ruud.
Ruud crushed a return winner in the first-set tie-break to earn a fourth set point, which he converted when Ramos-Vinolas failed to return his serve. The Norwegian did not let slip his momentum, pummeling an inside-out forehand winner to break for 3-2, and earning another break when the Spanish lefty hit a forehand into the net.
Ruud has been highly complimentary of Santiago throughout the week, and it has shown in his game as he has not lost a set in three matches.
“Norway and Chile are very far away from each other on the map, but the nature and the climate are not that different,” Ruud said. “You have the mountains and the sea, also. I also heard that further south there are some fjords and some really nice landscape. I think it’s a nice place for me to be. I wish I could visit more of Chile.”
The second seed's opponent in the final, Seyboth Wild, cruised past Argentine qualifier Renzo Olivo 6-1, 6-3 in 79 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final.
Entering the week, World No. 182 Seyboth Wild only owned two tour-level wins. But the 19-year-old now has a chance to become the youngest player to win a title during the 'Golden Swing' since Rafael Nadal at 2005 Acapulco.
Seyboth Wild, the 2018 US Open boys' singles champion, is already the youngest Brazilian finalist in ATP Tour history (since 1990), and he can become the second teen to win an ATP Tour title since 2017 Umag, joining 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who won his first trophy in Sydney last year.
The Brazilian showed no fear of the moment against World No. 297 Olivo, using his forehand to push the qualifier back and to get out of trouble when under pressure. Seyboth Wild saved all three break points he faced while earning 14 break points of his own — converting four — to earn the biggest win of his career.