Casper Ruud recovered from a set down against Cameron Norrie at the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday to keep his hopes of making the semi-finals alive. After a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory, the Norwegian will attempt to record his first win in his fifth ATP Head2Head meeting over Andrey Rublev on Friday.
“I played against him a couple of times and never was able to beat him,” Ruud said. “But I will, of course, try my best to bring something new to the table on Friday and challenge him in a different way than I’ve done before, because previously it hasn’t been working as I’ve wanted.
“But it will be a fun challenge. He’s a nice guy, we know each other well and he always plays with such high intensity. So I hope to do the same.”
Ruud, the first Norwegian to play at the Nitto ATP Finals, lost his opening match 7-6(4), 6-2 to Novak Djokovic on Monday. Djokovic went on to secure his place in the semi-finals after beating Rublev on Wednesday.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTION
Anticipating a match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ruud had to make a rapid adjustment when the Greek star withdrew from the season finale, which is being played at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
Ruud dropped just two games when he and Norrie met for the first time in the final of the San Diego Open earlier this year, but Wednesday’s clash was a much more closely contested affair. Ruud was able to turn things around after losing the first set, and credited his serve as the key to his comeback.
“I think I did better in the second and third [sets] because I didn’t [make] so many unforced errors, and I was also serving much better,” said Ruud. “The serve helped me a lot today,
“On this surface, when it’s so fast, it’s a very important shot. Probably the most important shot during the matches is to have a good serve, because you get a lot of free points, and that was key today.”
Ruud ended the match with 10 aces and he lost only two points behind his first serve in both the second and third sets.
“Everything changed a little bit with the momentum after a couple of points that went my way in the 4-3 game in the second set,” said Ruud. “Cameron maybe made some unforced errors that helped me a little bit to get the break. It’s a point or two that can turn a match around and I’m very happy that it ended up going my way today.”