ATP Finals: Casper Ruud sets Novak Djokovic title clash



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ATP Finals: Casper Ruud sets Novak Djokovic title clash

Casper Ruud will compete in his fourth notable final of the season at the ATP Finals in Turin. The last year's semi-finalist made it a step further this week, defeating three rivals for a place in the title clash against Novak Djokovic.

Casper beat Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and eight minutes in the semi-final, earning additional 400 ATP points and securing a top-3 year-end finish. Ruud served at 76% and dropped 11 points behind the initial shot, losing serve once after already building the advantage and keeping the pressure on the other side.

The Russian was far from that pace, failing to save any of the four break points offered to his opponent and finishing his best ATP Finals run in the semi-final. They hit a similar number of aces and service winners, and Ruud still had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes.

The Norwegian tamed his strokes nicely and stayed below ten unforced errors.

Casper Ruud took down Andrey Rublev in straight sets in Turin.

The Russian sprayed 23 and lost the ground from the baseline after missing equally from both wings.

Andrey cracked a forehand winner in the encounter's opening game for a hold at love. Casper fired a service winner in game two to get his name to the scoreboard, and his rival grabbed the next one at 15 for 2-1. Rublev pushed hard with his forehand in the fourth game and reached deuce.

Still, Ruud won the next two points to close the game and level the score at 2-2. Rublev wasted a game point in game five and netted a backhand to lose serve and fall behind. Casper clinched the sixth game at love with a forehand winner and forced the rival's mistake in the next one for another break and a 5-2 advantage.

The Norwegian flew over the court in those moments, taking 17 of the last points and wrapping up the opening set with an ace for 6-2 in 32 minutes. With nothing working his way, Rublev lost serve at the start of the second set and netted a routine backhand at 0-2 to fall further behind.

Ruud rattled off the ninth straight game to move 6-2, 4-0 up and closer to the finish line. The Norwegian served for the victory at 5-2 and suffered the only break after the Russian's volley winner at the net. Andrey held at love in game nine to reduce the deficit to 5-4, and Casper served for the win for the second time in the next one.

Making no errors this time, Ruud painted a backhand down the line winner for a hold at love and a place in the big final against Novak Djokovic.