World No. 5 Andrey Rublev admitted he got “tight” in key moments against Casper Ruud and that ultimately cost him a semifinal spot at the ATP Finals.
Rublev, who was making his second ATP Finals appearance, failed to make it past the group stage at the tournament for the second consecutive year.
On Friday, world No. 8 Casper Ruud recovered from a set down to beat Rublev 2-6 7-5 7-6 (5) and progress into the semifinal at the ATP Finals.
It was a direct battle for the final semifinal spot from the group and Ruud won the battle.
“It is tough,” Rublev said, per the ATP website. “Hopefully I can go through it to get a good lesson, which will give me a huge improvement.
“In the moment I got tight, which is normal,” Rublev said. “Casper played well. He has a great forehand. One of the best on Tour. He dictates with it and hits the ball well. Because I was tight, I was serving too slowly and he returned aggressively on the forehand and I could not do anything.”
Ruud acknowledged Rublev was a tough opponent
Rublev was up by a break in the second and third set but still failed to get over the line.
Ruud showed a great mental strength to recover from a bad start to the match and to also recovered from a break down in the second and third set.
“The court is playing very fast and Andrey plays very fast,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “He rips the ball harder than anyone on the Tour and serves very well on his first serve. We all want to play under control and with initiative, but it is not easy against Rublev because he makes you run all the time and play defensively all the time. I knew I had to fight fire with fire. On the big points I think I played quite smartly.”
Despite the loss, Rublev still owns a dominant record against Ruud.
Rublev won the first four matches against Ruud, before losing to the Norwegian at the ATP Finals.