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Ruud upsets Djokovic to reach second Masters 1000 final


Casper Ruud captured the biggest win of his career by PIF ATP Ranking on Saturday when he upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final and first since 2022 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

The Norwegian had never won a set off Djokovic in the pair’s previous five Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings but played close to his best against the top seed to advance to his third final of the season. 

Ruud swung freely throughout the two-hour, 16-minute clash, clubbing 23 winners to outlast the Serbian, who struggled to find his usual levels of consistency on Court Rainier III. The 25-year-old, who held a 0-11 record against Top 3 players prior to Saturday’s win, is the first Norwegian to defeat a World No. 1 in PIF ATP Rankings history (since 1973). 

“I am super happy,” Ruud said. “This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.

“I was up in the third and he came back, typical how good these guys are under pressure. And I was thinking please don’t let this slip away and 0/40 in the last game, it is not done. When he missed the first serve [at 30/40], he saved so many break points in crazy ways, with huge second serve. I prayed one time, let it be a double fault and something above listened and of course it was unfortunate to end the match with a double fault but for me it was nice to see that ball sail long.”

Ruud has won nine of his 10 tour-level titles on clay but has never triumphed above ATP 250 level. He will hope to change that record when he meets Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo title match. Ruud is up four spots to No. 6 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings.

“There is always one more match in tennis. Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo,” Ruud said. “It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament. So it is going to be another tough task but I am up for it.”

In a dramatic third set, Ruud recovered from squandering a break advantage after Djokovic upped his consistency and aggression to level at 4-4 after trailing 1-4. The Serbian looked as if he was on course to complete his comeback, but was unable to fend off another Ruud with resurgence, with the Norwegian sealing victory on his third match point after Djokovic double faulted.

The two-time Roland Garros finalist embraced the 98-time tour-level titlist at the net following his 24th tour-level win of the season before he took in the roar from the packed crowd.

Djokovic was competing in his first semi-final in the Principality since he lifted his second title in Monte-Carlo in 2015. The Serbian was aiming to complete his third sweep of all nine ATP Masters 1000 titles. He leaves the clay-court tournament holding an 11-4 record on the season, having not triumphed at a tournament so far in 2024. 

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