Nadal’s ‘student’ against Ruud Cilic and goes to the Roland Garros final – 20/06/2022

In 2021, the Norwegian Casper Ruud he was a champion in four clay ATPs: Geneva, Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel. This year, he has won two more: Buenos Aires and Geneva. It was a matter of time before the 23-year-old, who now ranks 8th in the world and uses Rafa Nadal’s gym as a training ground, did something great. Roland Garros. Ruud took his chances this year, advancing on the team and sealing his place in the final of the French championship this Friday. 3/6, 6/4, 6/2 and 6/2 about Croatian Marin Cilic (33 years old, current # 23).

In the best campaign of his career in a Grand Slam tournament, Ruud will be a new finalist against a well-known name in Roland Garros: Rafael NadalHe is looking for his 14th title in the clay of Paris and celebrated his 36th birthday this Friday and overtook the German Alexander Zverev (25 years old, # 3), who had to sprain his right ankle and leave the match.

After the match, Ruud spoke of the idol that Nadal has always had: “When I was younger, I complained a lot and I was always very negative. [em quadra], but I grew and matured a bit over the years. Looking at Rafari who I will face in the final, he never complains. It’s a perfect example of what it takes to be on the court. Never give up and complain. He has been my idol all my life. “

In an interview with former French tennis player Fabrice Santoro, Ruud also recalled that he had already faced Federer and Djokovic, and that Rafa would be the last of the Big Three in an official match: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never faced him. “Waiting for a slam final in the end will be special for me and I hope for him a little too. He has played so many finals, but at least this time he will. Be in front of a student in your gym. I hope you have fun.”

How it happened

Due to the rain, the match was closed under a retractable roof, so the atmosphere on the Philippe Chatrier court is very humid and the playing conditions are slower. Rafael Nadal said at a press conference this Friday that it is worse for clay experts because the balls bounce less. Casper Ruud, who has already won two ATPs on clay this year (Buenos Aires and Geneva), found it difficult to get Cilic back at the start of the match, and the Croatian took advantage.

With his aggressive style and without having to deal with high balls, he started ahead of the 2014 US champion by saving two break points in the fourth game and indicating a break in the seventh. Cilic escaped yet another break point in the eighth and Ruud broke it again to make it 6/3 in the first set.

Cilic finished with 15 wins against Ruud’s three, but the Norwegian’s consistency, as he made fewer mistakes, started to make a difference in the second set, and the roles were reversed. Casper got his first break in the third game and saved a break point in the fourth. After that, he held on to the lead until it was 6/4 and the game was tied on set 1 on 1. In part, Ruud accumulated 16 wins and seven unforced errors against Cilic’s 17 and 14, respectively.

The third set was not as crooked as the scoreboard would have shown, but it kept Ruud’s strength in dominance, and the Norwegian was better at all important moments. It lasted seven minutes in the first long game, with the youngster breaking Cilic to make it 1-0. Later, in the third game of eight minutes, Ruud got another break after five unforced errors by the veteran. With the score at 4-0, the score was too high for a reaction.

Invasion and closure

Before the end of the fourth set, a girl invaded the court and tied her to the net. “He’s 1028 days away,” he said. The game was interrupted, and the tennis players returned to the locker room until the girl left the court. The woman’s blouse also had an internet address linked to a website called “Last Renovation,” which warned, among other things, of the climate crisis.

By the start of the fourth set, Ruud had already found a comfort zone and not only defended well against Cilic’s attacks, but also countered effectively and consistently. To make matters worse for the Croatian, he abandoned his first kick. With less than 50% success at the base, Marin no longer had to kick-start or order rallies. Ruud took advantage and, with a break in the first game and another in the fifth, opened the scoring 4/1. After that, the final game went downhill for the Norwegian.

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