Barcelona | Ruud wins first title at 500 level.

The final of the Barclona Open Banc Sabadell was a repeat of the previous week’s Monte Carlo Masters finsl which Casper Ruud lost to Stefanos Tsistipas, so, for the Norwegian, who had only won five games then, his 7-5 6-3 defeat of the Greek in the Catalan capital, must have been very sweet.

This has been worth all the wait. A lot of finals I’ve lost have been tough have been disappointing. Any time you reach a final, it’s nonetheless a good week, so can’t be too hard on yourself, but this one has been a long time coming Casper Ruud

“In the final in Monte-Carlo I was always on the back foot, too far behind, and he had too much time to control the game.

“It was a bit of a tricky start [here in Barcelona], I got broken right away. So not the best start, but I managed to settle in and broke him back. Clutched up and broke him in the end of the first, which was huge.

“It’s been two long weeks for both of us. It’s obvious that at some point fatigue is going to kick in. I think we were both fit enough to play today, it’s not about that, but winning the first set was huge probably for either of us.”

And as he points out, it didn’t look good in those opening moments as the fifth seeded Tsitsipas imposed himself quickly on the third seeded Ruud in his aim to maintain his current winning streak of 10 wins on the trot.

Ruud however was equally intent on earning for himself, his first title of the season and one above the level of 250 which all his previous wins had been at.

Once he regained his focus in the opening set, he broke back for 3-all and with Tsitsipas now starting to falter, changed the momentum of the match when he claimed the opening set with another and crucial break.

T


Casper Ruud shakes hands with his rival Stefanos Tsitsipas, after the final

(Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

he second set was easier for the Norwegian who broke his opponent twice to wrap up his win which will boost his confidence for the upcoming clay Grand Slam at Roland-Garros starting late May in which he has reached the final twice.

The match lasted just under an hour and a half with Ruud hitting 19 winners and making 15 unforced errors as opposed to Tsitsipas’s 17 winners and 25 unforced errors.

In the semis Tsitsipas had overcome Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, while Ruud beat Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry, but Tsitsipas may not have been as fresh as he would have liked as he had to recover from a set down before progressing 5-7 6-4 6-2 while Ruud enjoyed a straight-sets 7-6(8) 6-4 victory.

Reflecting on what had changed in a week, Ruud said after the match: “Just to kind of [bring] it to him a little bit more than last week.”

The 25-year-old from Oslo added: “This has been worth all the wait. A lot of finals I’ve lost have been tough have been disappointing. Any time you reach a final, it’s nonetheless a good week, so can’t be too hard on yourself, but this one has been a long time coming.

“Super-happy to be able to do it here in Barcelona in front of a packed stadium today, and Rafa Nadal Court is special to me as I looked up to him all my childhood.”

And he achieved his milestone in some style by becoming only the fourth player in the 26 ATP tournaments played so far this season, to win without dropping a set.

He also finally snapped his finals-losing streak at five while Tsitsipas has opened up another streak with losses in four Barcelona finals.


Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud pose with their respective trophies

Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)



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