ATP Finals: Casper Ruud edges Taylor Fritz and reaches semi-final

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ATP Finals: Casper Ruud edges Taylor Fritz and reaches semi-final

Casper Ruud is the first semi-finalist at the ATP Finals in Turin. The Norwegian will compete in the last four at the premium ATP event for the second straight time after beating Taylor Fritz 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in two hours and 11 minutes.

It was the match of the tournament so far, and Casper prevailed in the closing stages to remain perfect in Turin and advance into the semi-final ahead of the Rafael Nadal clash. Ruud took eight points more than Fritz, and there was nothing to separate them on the fast indoor court, with one break on each side.

The servers stayed composed in the decider to introduce a tie break, and the Norwegian seized the third match point for a notable victory. Casper and Taylor blasted 72 service winners and stayed aggressive from start to finish.

Ruud hit 32 winners and 23 unforced errors, and Fritz added 32 winners and 28 mistakes. The rivals stayed neck and neck in the mid-range and most extended rallies, and Casper built the lead in the shortest ones up to four strokes.

Casper Ruud prevailed over Taylor Fritz to reach the last four.

However, Taylor gave his 120% and stood two points away from the win in the tie break, only to blow it and finish on the losing side. Ruud created three break chances in the encounter's second game and forced Fritz's mistake on the third to forge an early gap.

Casper flew over the court early on and grabbed a hold at love in game three for 3-0 in no time. Taylor settled into a fine rhythm after an early setback, and they both served well in the remaining games. Ruud served for the opener in game nine and held at 15 for 6-3 in 31 minutes.

Fritz dropped three points behind the initial shot in the second set and waited for a chance on the return. Casper survived in the second game and served to stay in the set at 4-5 after a couple of great holds from both. The Norwegian squandered a game point and offered the American a set point.

Taylor claimed an extended rally to steal the set 6-4 and force a decider after an hour and 11 minutes. The final set offered 11 comfortable holds and one tough challenge for Fritz. Taylor saved two break points at 2-2 (the first after an incredible diving volley winner) and forced the rival's serve to avoid the setback.

There was nothing for the returners to work with in the following seven games, and a tie break became inevitable after Casper's ace in game 12. The Norwegian forged a 3-0 lead and fired a forehand winner in the sixth point that pushed him 5-1 up.

Taylor climbed back to 4-5 before Casper landed a smash winner in the tenth point for two match points. Taylor saved the first on the return and drew the rival's forehand error on the second for 6-6 and more drama. Instead of building on that, Fritz sprayed a forehand mistake in the 13th point to face the third match point. Ruud seized it to seal the deal and start a massive celebration after another fine performance.