The Norwegian Casper Ruud made a success of his entry into the ATP Masters on Sunday with a victory in two sets against the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, while awaiting the entry into the running of Rafael Nadal in the evening.
Ruud, 4th in the world and who is participating for the second time at 23 in the tournament bringing together the eight best players of the season, was more solid than the Canadian (6th) to win 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 in 1h51.
“It’s a great victory, welcomed Ruud. I knew that against Félix, who had an incredible series in recent weeks (16 consecutive victories, with three titles at stake in as many weeks, until his defeat in the semi-finals at the Masters 1000 in Paris, editor’s note), if I was not able to play at my best level, I would be swept away.”
Auger-Aliassime, in addition to his magnificent series, is also the player with the most indoor victories this season (27 before the start of the Masters).
But it was the Norwegian who added a third success in straight sets in as many games against the Canadian, who had won their first duel on the ATP circuit in 2019.
The finalist of Roland-Garros and the US Open committed fewer unforced errors than his opponent (16 against 26).
And if FAA, who was making his debut in the Masters tournament, served 14 aces, it was he who conceded the only break of the game, at 3-3 in the second set. Ruud has never been in danger.
– Nadal takeable –
“In recent weeks, even months, when I was playing well I was going back much better than that,” analyzed the 22-year-old Canadian, the youngest of the eight participants present in Turin.
“Coming back much better, I could have had a chance to win, but I didn’t score enough points on my comeback to hope to beat Casper. I think that’s the key to the game,” he said. -He insists.
While he is now “back to the wall”, as he admits, and to hope to reach the semis he will have to win his next two single beats, against Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz.
For Ruud, this first victory takes a weight off his shoulders, even if a duel is looming on Tuesday or Thursday against Nadal who beat him in the final at Roland-Garros.
“I am happy that this next match (against Nadal) will not be played on the Philippe-Chatrier in the Roland-Garros final because he is unbeatable there”, joked Ruud who does not leave beaten at the idea of facing the Spaniard indoors at the end of the season, in a tournament and in conditions where “he has already been beaten”.
“His margin may be thinner here. On faster indoor courts, you can expect more free points than on clay,” he explained.
Last year, the Norwegian reached the semi-finals in Turin where he lost to Russian Daniil Medvedev, then world No.2.
Sunday from 9:00 p.m. (GMT + 1), Nadal (2nd) will enter the competition with a double objective: to win the only major tournament missing from his incredible record (including the record of 22 Grand Slam titles), and to become N .1 worldwide.
If he plays at 36 for the eleventh time since 2005 this tournament which concludes the season, his opponent of the day, the American Taylor Fritz (9th) will make his debut there.