World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas has praised rising Norwegian Casper Ruud ahead of their clash at the Toronto Masters. Tsitsipas saw off Karen Khachanov 6-3 6-2 in the Toronto Masters round-of-16 to reach the quarterfinal. Ruud recently won three titles in as many weeks as he won it all in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel.
"Casper is a player that has been developing very good recently. He had an amazing clay-court season," Tsitsipas said. "He's someone that serves very well, has a very good serve-and-first-ball pattern that works really well for him.
I think he's probably one of the best players out there to have the serve and first ball inside the three first shots that he hits. "It's definitely something that I'm going to have to pay attention to, and apply more pressure towards that."
Tsitsipas looking forward to clashing Ruud
Ruud has won 14 consecutive matches and Tsitsipas is hoping to end his streak. [I am] looking forward to that battle," Tsitsipas said. "We have played each other in the past.
Not an easy guy to play against. Looking for a change, looking for a switch-up this time." Ruud has heard those doubting him. "I have seen a lot of people questioning my ability to play on hard court, so I just thought it was funny to write a little note,” Ruud said in his post-match press conference.
“I think it's fun to play on hard courts. Even though I (have achieved) most of my best results on clay, my best slam result is from this year’s Australian Open (where he reached the Round of 16), so I think it's a surface that also can suit my game well even though this year has been mainly clay.
“I think I'm motivated to come back to the hard courts. I have had two very good matches here. It's a great start for me to the hard-court swing”.