Norwegian tennis star Casper Ruud couldn’t hide his happiness after making his maiden semifinal on hard court.
Ruud, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 10 in the world, ousted 23rd-ranked Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 to progress into the San Diego Open semifinal.
After Wimbledon, Ruud claimed three titles in as many weeks, having won it all in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel.
Ruud has four titles in 2021 as he also made it all the way on the clay courts of Geneva.
Ruud is now a top-10 player but some doubted his ability to play well outside the clay surface.
“This is my first semi-final on hard court after reaching the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati, so it’s another important step in my young career,” Ruud said. “It gives me confidence for tomorrow and the belief that I can beat good players on this surface.”
Ruud insists it wasn’t easy against Sonego
The two players were tied after the opening two games of the match but then Ruud claimed back-to-back breaks to win five games in a row and seal the opener in style.
After losing five consecutive games, Sonego served out the opening game of the second set to end Ruud’s run.
However, it didn’t take too long for Ruud to claim another break, having broken Sonego in the third game for a 2-1 lead.
Ruud then saved two break points in the eighth game, before serving out for the match two games later.
“It was closer than it may have seemed, but the key moments and important points went my way today,” said Ruud, who is looking to add a tour-high fifth title of the season. “The three times I broke him they were close games and at 4-3 in the second I got into a little bit of trouble on my serve but I was able to serve out a close game.”