Novak Djokovic – Casper Ruud 7-6, 6-2.
Djokovic stumbled, literally, from the point in his first serve game. Ruud hit the back of the net against the Serb every time he missed first serve. And he did it often enough for Ruud to secure a dream opening in the game.
“It’s great to be out there and participate in that tournament, but I feel like I’ve done a lot of good, but there are some things you can use and criticize,” Casper Ruud said after the game.
Because the longer it will get heavier.
Djokovic came back towards the end of the first set and played well in the second – which he ended up winning comfortably 6-2. Thus, the Serb won the match in straight sets and started the match he had hoped for in Turin.
– Casper started really well. He served very well. Altitude and fast path support a good server. I know he has a good serve, maybe not as good as (Daniil) Medvedev and (Alexander) Zverev and the gang. But he hit in the right place. “I managed to read it better in the second set,” said Djokovic when asked by NRK after the match.
The Norwegian coach looked disappointed as he walked down the concrete walls of the Pala Alpitour after the match. While Djokovic captivated the crowd in Italian and kissed the trophy proving he is the world’s best tennis player, also in 2021, Ruud was interviewed by Eurosport.
– He got some too big numbers, not much to say about that. He wasn’t at the top today and neither am I. When you’re not on top, you’ll be battling him.
– He showed many times out there that he is the best in the world, Ruud told Eurosport after the game.
The crowd was clearly blown away, both by Djokovic and Ruud, but mostly by the Norwegian who sent Djokovic on target and out towards the split.
– I honestly don’t know what happened. I got in the nose, and yes…, Djokovic told NRK.
Among the servers, the ones shouted were “Casper” and “Ruud”, not “Novak” or “Djokovic”. But the screams from some of the boys weren’t enough to make the world champions out.
As usual, Djokovic fought back in the match. He broke Ruud’s serve to make it 3-3. He got two sets of balls at 5-4.
“HAAAAAAJDE”, it echoed from Djokovic in the tennis room when he missed the first. “COMING AGAIN” in good Norwegian. But that doesn’t help.
Ruud stands against the set ball and places the winner of the stroke at 5-5. Djokovic led the applause, before the Norwegian continued with two servees.
As the first set headed into the tiebreak, the Serb got too strong and pulled him ashore 7-4.
The second set was much more unbalanced. Djokovic played well in his serve game, breaking Ruud twice. The Serb reminded himself. And he reminded those in attendance why he has lost just five tennis matches in 2021.
Even though Ruud lost his first game in the playoffs, it was still possible to continue. He will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrei Rublyov in the coming days. The top two from the group advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
– Now the case. I still believe in progress and I can reach the semifinals. Then I have to play my best and be better than before,” Ruud said at his post-match press conference.
Monday at 21.00 Tsitsipas and Rublyov met.
- You can listen to all of Ruud’s games in the playoffs on NRK Sport. Discovery + shows the entire tournament. It ends on Sunday 21 November.
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