A year ago, Casper Ruud stood on the 135th position on the ATP list, hoping for a breakthrough in the rest of the season and eager to follow his father's footsteps. Finishing the previous year ranked just outside the top-50, Casper won seven out of ten matches so far in 2020, claiming the first ATP title in Buenos Aires to write tennis history of his country, becoming the first Norwegian player with an ATP trophy and passing the best ranking position of his father Christian, ranked 34th on Monday.
In the title match in Argentina, Casper took down a lucky loser Pedro Sousa 6-1, 6-4 in 70 minutes, becoming the youngest Buenos Aires champion and controlling the pace from start to finish to lift the trophy in his second ATP final, losing the previous one in Houston last year.
Heading to Buenos Aires with 12 ATP wins under his best, Sousa reached the main draw after withdrawal from Cristian Garin, scoring three wins and advancing into the final when Diego Schwartzman pulled out before their semi-final clash after a marathon quarter-final encounter.
Still, the Portuguese stood no chance against the youngster who stood on the verge of defeat against Juan Ignacio Londero in the semis, with Ruud losing 11 points in nine service games, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net.
On the other hand, Casper seized 43% of the return points, delivering three breaks from four chances to cross the finish line in style and celebrate the milestone crown. Ruud held at 15 in the first game and grabbed a break in the very next one when Sousa sprayed a forehand error, making the best possible start and building momentum for the rest of the encounter.
Two comfortable holds pushed the Norwegian 4-1 in front, landing a forehand return winner to open a 5-1 advantage and securing the opener with a hold at love for a 6-1 in 33 minutes. Pedro hit a double fault to lose serve in the first game of the second set, allowing Ruud to keep it until the end and emerge at the top after forcing an error from his opponent in the tenth game to wrap up a perfect week and move to Rio de Janeiro where he was the semi-finalist three years ago at the age of 18.