2020 in Review: Casper Ruud writes history as Norway's first ATP champion



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2020 in Review: Casper Ruud writes history as Norway's first ATP champion

Ranked 135th in February 2019, the young Norwegian Casper Ruud made great progress through the ATP list, finishing the season just outside the top-50 and following his father's footsteps. Casper made a strong start to the 2020 campaign, beating Fabio Fognini and John Isner at the ATP Cup and seeking another deep run at the first ATP stop on clay in Buenos Aires.

The top seed Diego Schwartzman ousted Pablo Cuevas in a marathon quarter-final clash, withdrawing ahead of the semi-final and leaving the door opened for the remaining competitors to seek the crown. Ruud survived a stern challenge from Juan Ignacio Londero in the semi-final's opening two sets, entering the final and facing Pedro Sousa in the title clash.

Casper defeated Pedro 6-1, 6-4 in 70 minutes after a thrilling performance to secure the first ATP title for Norway and pass his father as the best-ranked Norwegian on the ATP list! After losing the Houston final in April 2019, Ruud became the youngest Buenos Aires champion, taking his chances and beating the rival who came to Buenos Aires with only 12 ATP wins under his belt.

Still, he stood no chance against Casper, who lost 11 points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point.

In Buenos Aires, Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian ATP champion.

The Portuguese couldn't follow those numbers, dropping 43% of the points in his games and suffering three breaks to carry the Norwegian over the finish line.

Casper hit 23 winners and 12 unforced mistakes, outplaying the opponent in the shortest range up to four strokes to seal the deal in style and celebrate the title. Ruud held at 15 in the first game and grabbed a break in the next one when Sousa sprayed a forehand error, making the strongest start and building momentum for the rest of the encounter.

The Norwegian held with an ace in game three to cement the advantage and secured another comfortable service game to forge a 4-1 lead. Sousa had a game point in the next one, wasting it and allowing Ruud to clinch another break with a forehand winner.

Serving for the opener, Casper held at love in game seven to wrap up the set 6-1 in 33 minutes, gaining a massive boost ahead of set number two. Pedro got broken at love in the second set's first game following two double faults, with Casper confirming the advantage with a hold at love a few minutes later.

Ruud produced another fine hold at 2-1 to remain in front, serving for the title at 5-4. Showing no sign of nerves, the Norwegian held after deuce to secure the triumph and win the first ATP title for himself and his country.