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Ruud recovers to oust Humbert


Casper Ruud recovered from a second-set slump Friday to book his spot in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters semi-finals.</p>

Despite flying out of the blocks to a set-and-a-break lead, the eighth seed needed three sets to tame Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Aiming for his first title since last year’s ATP 250 in Estoril and maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown, Ruud has earned back-to-back wins against fellow Top 15 players. After his 6-4, 6-2 thumping against 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz, Ruud improved to 2-3 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Humbert to reach his second Monte-Carlo semi-final (2021).

Ruud troubled Humbert with his weight of shot and drew the World No. 15 in the PIF ATP Rankings into tempting openings, which then created unforced errors from the 25-year-old<

Humbert won four consecutive games from 0-2 in the second set, playing with more aggression and frequently changing direction to extend the match. But it was Ruud’s forehand consistency that held off Humbert’s late charge as the Norwegian advanced after two hours, five minutes.

Ruud, 25, will next look for his maiden win against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is 5-0 against the 10-time tour-level titlist. Their previous meeting came in last year’s Roland Garros final, which Djokovic won in straight sets.

Humbert was aiming for his first Masters 1000 semi-final appearance. Already a champion in Marseille and Dubai this season, Humbert is at a career-high No. 13 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings.

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