In Saturday’s intense final, João Sousa was beaten 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-6 (7-1) after more than three hours of play.
The match seemed to be lost when Sousa had to serve the hosts with a 5-4 advantage in the deciding set. But Ruud showed composure and class when he broke the score to 5-5. It ended in a tiebreak in which Ruud was the strongest.
The win was Ruud’s eighth tournament win and his second this year. Five of those came last year, of which wins on the same track as Saturday. The Norwegian has reached eleven finals and thus has only lost three times in her career.
Prior to the final, Ruud was the favourite, but Sousa, who is in his best form at 28th in the world, put the Snarya boy on fire along the way.
Ruud kept his head down for much of the second set, and in the decisive set, Sousa was ahead of Ruud, who also received a rare warning from the referee for time spent during toilet breaks. However, he made a few mistakes and could cheer for another ATP win.
Ruud entered the Roland-Garros tournament as seeded 8th and with the winner of the tournament in Geneva where he did not give up a set before the final.
Ruud broke Sousa’s serve at the first opportunity. He seemed to be up against the set victor without any major problems, but ended up meeting resistance. First, Ruud saved four damaged balls at 4-3, and when he served for the set, the Norwegian was finally broken.
Ruud himself had three sets of balls in the ninth game, but Sousa fought back. Unlike the semifinal against Reilly Opelka, there were several long ball exchanges in the one hour set.
The match continued with a tiebreak where Ruud won 7-3.
In the second set, Sousa took the lead when she broke Ruud to take a 3-2 lead and hold on to her next serve.
Ruud looked worried and slightly cheered for the points he got. He, on the other hand, got a break ball and was able to level it at 4-4, but Sousa saved the game really well. He then served the house set.
In the decisive set, the match looked lost before Ruud got a crucial break to 5-5, and he refueled the way he clinched the win ashore. In the tiebreak, he was very superior.
At Roland-Garros, 37-year-old Jo-Wilfried Tsonga waited in the first round. Ruud was seeded 8th in the tournament. Last year he was seeded as number 15.
Ruud never went further than round three at the gravel in the French capital. Last year, he faced Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in five sets spanning four and a half hours.
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