Casper Rudd rises above Marin Cilic in his first slam tournament | ATP . round

Casper Road He continues to thrive on his first run deep into week two of a major tournament. The 23-year-old advanced to his first major quarter-finals earlier this two weeks – becoming the first Norwegian player to reach that stage – and is now in the final after 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6 – 2 victory against Marin Cilic In the semi-finals on Friday.

He will face the eighth seed Rafael Nadal For the first time in Sunday’s final, he is trying to deprive the Spaniard of 14th place Roland Garros crown and 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Rudd is training at the Spaniard’s academy in Mallorca, adding to the excitement ahead of the tournament match.

“It’s amazing,” Rudd said of Nadal in an on-court interview. “He’s the last player in the Big Three and the best player in the world I’ve ever played against.” “So I think this is the perfect timing and worth the wait. It will be a special moment for me to finally play him in a Grand Slam final. Hopefully a little bit for him too.

“He’s played many finals, but at least he’s playing a student from his academy this time. So hopefully it’s fun.”

With Cilic running through the opening set behind two late bars, Rudd embarked on a systematic comeback that gained steam as the match progressed. The Croatian dominated the early rallies, winning and losing points on his own terms, before Rudd gained momentum behind high-speed ground strikes per minute.

Having spent much of the opening set in defense, the Norwegian began to drag his opponent by finding corners with heavy spins. After an early break in the second set, he served the set 6-4 with a five-point winning streak to escape the 0/40 hole, and found numerous serves and big forehands during what proved to be the defining moment of the competition.

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The story of the match can be traced back to the winning to non-forced fouls of both men. After Rudd scored only three winners (and five fouls) in the opening set, he made 16, 12, and 10 in the last three, outstripping the number of fouls by a healthy margin in each. Cilic produced a plus-four in the opening two sets but a minus-nine score in the last two sets.

“It was a great match on my part,” Rudd said. “I didn’t start the best, but Marin also played well in the first set. I was very defensive and then I was able to break it in the second and that made me come back. Since that break I’ve played some of the best tennis of the year. I serve well and play hard, so I’m Very happy with my performance today.”

The only thing that could stop Rudd’s momentum was the protester who locked herself in the net as the Norwegian advanced with a double-break in the third set. But after a short delay during which both players left the field, he finished the job at 10:15 p.m., sealing the win in less than three hours.

He improved to 3-0 against Cilic in the ATP Head2Head series, with one win every year since 2020. After the win, Roode rose above Carlos Alcaraz to number 6 in Pepperstone ATP direct ranking. It is now expected to reach its highest levels in the Pepperstone ATP rating on Monday.

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Rudd leads the ATP Tour eight times at Tour level in clay wins (66), titles (seven), and finals (eight, including Roland Garros) since the beginning of 2022. But he has not yet been able to translate this success into the Grand Slam tournaments, as it will be in 2021 Australian Open Round four was his previous best result. Rudd entered this week in Paris scoring 7-4 in Roland Garros And three consecutive exits from the third floor. He could match his previous winning streak by beating Nadal on Sunday.

Cilic was bidding for his fourth major final and had the opportunity to become the fifth active man to reach the final of all four slams. Ranked number 23 in the world was the lowest Roland Garros Semi-finals since number 25 Robin Soderling in 2009.

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