Rising Norwegian star Casper Ruud admitted it felt great to make his maiden Masters semifinal in Rome. Ruud, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 34 in the world, came from a set down to beat No. 4 seed Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 7-6 (5) in the Rome Masters quarterfinal.
Ruud, 21, survived a tough Berrettini challenge after two hours and 57 minutes of play and became the first Norwegian ever to have made a Masters semifinal. En route to making his maiden Masters semifinal, Ruud also beat 2018 Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov, fellow rising star Lorenzo Sonego and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.
"It feels great [to be in a Masters 1000 semi-final], obviously. These [are the] things that all players work hard for every day in practice, [to] try to make it far in the big tournaments and big events,” Ruud said, per the ATP website.
“This is my first time in the semi-finals and today was even my first time in the quarter-finals. I'm just enjoying the moment, I guess. I'm in a good flow. I have gained good confidence in my game this week”.
Ruud thought he played tactically great
Ruud made a slow start to the match as he lost his serve in the opening game of the match and then failed to convert a break point in the following game. After saving a set point on his serve in the ninth game, Ruud had a break point in the following game but failed to convert as Berrettini managed to serve out for the first set.
But Ruud quickly bounced back from losing the opener as he won the opening three games of the third set. Ruud failed to realize a set point in the eighth game but served out the ninth game to love to force a decider. Ruud then broke Berrettini in the opening game of the third set but the Italian broke back the Norwegian in the sixth game.
In the third set tie-break, Berrettini led 5-3 before Ruud won four points in a row to set up a semifinal against No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, who defeated German Dominik Koepfer in three sets. "The way I played today, I think it was tactically great,” Ruud said.
“I tried to play many points the same, trying to move him not only to the sides but also a little bit back in the court, because inside the court he's one of the best players in the world”.