He'd been beaten on all four occasions he has faced Andrey Rublev but the young Norwegian, Casper Ruud, managed to turn it around in the nick of time to qualify for the semis of the ATP Finals.
The first set looked to be going the way of their previous encounters as Rublev dominated, breaking his eighth-ranked opponent twice. But Ruud, playing the tournament for the first time, dug in and pulled out the next two sets despite going down a break in both before rallying back. The final score was 2-6 7-5, 7-6 (5).
A delighted Ruud said in his post-match interview: 'The court is playing very fast and Andrey plays very fast. He rips the ball harder than anyone and serves very well. It is not easy against Rublev because he makes you run all the time and play defensively. I knew I had to fight fire with fire. On the big points I think I played smart.'
Ruud, who trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy, has to play extra smart in his next match as he goes on to play tennis mastermind Daniil Medvedev.
'I am just enjoying the moment,” the 22-year-old said. “I am looking forward to tomorrow already. It is going to be another tough battle, different kind of player from today, but one of the best in the world. I have played against him and lost both times. But I know a little bit about what I am going to face and it is going to be a fun challenge.”
The other semi final features top seed Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
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