In the penultimate round-robin match of the ATP Finals, debutant Casper Ruud prevailed over Andrey Rublev 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 in two hours and 23 minutes to secure the semi-final berth ahead of the Russian. Thus, Casper became the first Scandinavian player with the semi-final run at the ATP Finals since Robin Soderling in 2009, proving his quality on an indoor surface and setting the clash against world no.
2 Daniil Medvedev on Saturday. Thanks to that opening set, Andrey won 12 points more than Casper, which was not enough to carry him home, despite a break advantage in sets two and three. Rublev's first serve worked like a charm, but it could not keep him safe, getting broken thrice and converting four out of 11 break chances, two of those in the opener.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors, and Andrey was a better player in the more extended rallies, only to throw everything in the deciding tie break.
Casper Ruud will face Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Finals semi-final.
The Russian grabbed a break in the encounter's third game and held at love in the next one to open a 3-1 lead and seize 12 of the previous 15 points.
Rublev secured another break in game five when Ruud sprayed a backhand error for a massive advantage after 20 minutes. The Norwegian defended set points on serve in game seven before the Russian brought the next one home at love for 6-2 in 34 minutes.
Ten minutes later, Andrey broke at 1-1 in set number two and looked good to seal the deal soon after that. In one of the pivotal moments of the entire encounter, Rublev wasted two game points at 2-1 and experienced the first break of serve that provided a boost for the Norwegian.
Casper defended two break points in the seventh game and held with a service winner for another boost of confidence. Serving at 5-6, Andrey got broken at 15 to hand the set to his opponent, who had the edge ahead of the decider.
Starting all over, the Russian forced the Norwegian's mistake at 2-2 in the final set to move in front, staying there only for one game, as Casper broke back with a return winner. Ruud fended off a break point in game 11 with a forehand winner and moved 6-4 up in the tie break with a smash winner.
The Norwegian seized the second match point at 6-5 with a booming serve, celebrating the second victory of the competition and a place in the semis.
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