Novak Djokovic to face Casper Ruud in ATP Finals after semi-final wins | Tennis
Norway’s Casper Ruud is all that stands between Novak Djokovic and a record sixth ATP Finals title, after the former Serbian No. 1 beat American Taylor Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(6) ) in the semi-finals of Turin.
The 21-time major champion overcame an ace barrage from Fritz, surviving Indian Wells winner despite having a bad day in his view, and produced fewer errors at the Pala Alpitour to move within a record win of Roger Federer in the final season.
“I had to fight to survive,” said the 35-year-old. “I didn’t feel very responsive today or very comfortable… I’m very happy to have overcome this one because I don’t think it was one of my best days with my tennis but I managed to hang on.”
If Djokovic wins the final, he will take home the biggest prize in tennis history, taking home $4,740,300 for winning the tournament trophy unbeaten. But first he will have to tame Ruud, who confidently brushed aside an error-prone Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-4 in the semi-final.
Rublev quickly crumbled, hitting his bench in frustration after losing serve for the second time in the first set, and Ruud added to the pain when he smashed the Russian again to open the second set.
It seemed to be almost over as Ruud won the next three games as well, but Rublev got his hands on his killer forehand to break the two-time major runner-up in game eight. Ruud quickly extinguished that momentum, however, holding his arms wide after he clinch. the match with a winning backhand down the line.
“Sometimes it’s tough because things are obviously going well, but sometimes they can go almost too well,” Ruud said. “Andrey had very good returns, aggressive forehand… I wasn’t stressing too much. Everything was going my way today. Djokovic and Ruud will meet in the final on Sunday.