Former junior world number 1, Casper Ruud (son of former Top 40 player Christian Ruud) won his first Futures title today in Spain F3 Futures in Paguera. Casper is 1146th player in the world at the moment, but that will change when he gets points from this tournament.
In terms of ranking, Casper is still behind his coevals like Tiafoe, Lee, Kozlov, Mmoh or Luz, but there is no doubt he can catch them all during 2016, constantly improving in IMG Academy. Before this tournament, Ruud played 13 Futures events in career, losing in the first round 9 times, with two quarter-final appearances.
As usual with players of his ranking, Casper started this Spain F3 tournament from rock bottom, playing 3 qualifying matches just to reach main draw. He won all of them in straight sets, saving energy for the encounters with better ranked opponents.
On Tuesday he dismantle Marcos Giraldi Requena, losing only 3 games in 76 minutes win. Next clash was much tighter, prevailing over 5ht seed Albert Alcaraz Ivorra 2-6 7-6(3) 7-5. Match lasted more than 2 and a half hours, and its fair to say that Casper stole it.
Spaniard had 13 break points but converted only 4 of them, while teenager created 3 chances, and took all of them. 12 of 13 break points for Albert came in first set, which he won 6-2, and in second and third he only had one.
Casper played better in most important moments after the first set, for his 3rd Futures quarter-final. Another Spaniard born in 1995 waited in last 8, Mario Vilella Martinez, and Casper needed almost 3 hours to advance, by 7-5 6-7 6-4.
Norwegian raced to 5-2 lead in the first set, but lost next 3 games to be all square at 5-5. Still, Casper again showed mental strenght, winning last 2 games to take the important first set. Martinez responded in the second set, taking the tie break 7-2 to force a decider, but Ruud stepped in again with late break in the third set, to reach his first Futures semi-final.
Long matches had left no marks on the youngster, who destroyed 1st seed Kamil Majchrzak in semi final, losing only 2 games. Casper saved both break points, and converted all 5 he got on return, taking 7 games in a row, and another 4 to close the match.
Carlos Taberner (1997) also reached final after being forced to qualify, and this was huge match for both players. Casper survived another marathon, prevailing in very strange score for his first professional title. It was 2-6 7-6(11) 6-0, with one-sided first and third sets, and ultimate drama in the second.
Ruud created 24 break points but could only realize 4 of them, on the other hand losing serve 3 times. Taberner won the first set 6-2, despite playing against 10 break points, which he saved all and broke Ruud twice. Taberner broke in the 5th game of the second set and served for the match at 5-4.
Casper made crucial break to prolong his chances, and the set went to a deciding tie break. It was very intense one, and after saving 2 match points Casper won it 13-11, with huge chances to win the title now. Taberner couldn't recover from missed opportunities, losing the third set 6-0, in complete mental meltdown, winning only 1 return point.
After the match Casper said it is great feeling to be victorious for the first time. He pointed out that it will be easier for him from this moment, not needing to qualify any more and to play more than 5 matches per week.
He plans to crack Top 250 this year, with some good results in Challengers too. It will be interested to see how he will develop over the next 9 months, and Tennis World USA will continue to follow his future successes. ALSO READ: WTA ST. PETERSBURG- Belinda Bencic to meet Roberta Vinci in the final