French Open: Ruud ready for 'greatest challenge in this sport' against Nadal

By Sports Desk June 03, 2022

Casper Ruud knows he will have to play his "best tennis ever" if he is to have "any chance" against his idol Rafael Nadal in the French Open final.

Ruud defeated Marin Cilic 3-6 6-4 6-2 6-2 in his semi-final on Friday to join Nadal in the Roland Garros decider.

This will be Ruud's first grand slam final, while Nadal is preparing for his 30th – and 14th in Paris alone.

Each of the previous 13 on the red clay have ended in Nadal wins, and his opponent is well aware of the task before him.

"To play Rafa in a Roland Garros final is probably the greatest challenge there is in this sport," Ruud said. "I believe he's 13-0 in the finals, so that just shows that it might sound like an impossible task.

"But of course I will give it a shot like the other 13 people before me have done.

"It's obviously going to be tough. We all know what a great champion he is and how well he plays in the biggest moments and the biggest matches. I'm just going to try to enjoy it.

"I will be the underdog, and I will try to tonight and tomorrow night dream about great winners and unbelievable rallies, because that's what it's going to take if I want to have any chance, and I will need to play my best tennis ever.

"But I still have to believe that I can do it, and I think part of my game today was working very well. In the end, I was playing great in the third and fourth set."

Ruud is not shying away from the challenge, even if he is happy simply to join the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in playing Nadal in a final, describing it as "something I can always brag about after my career".

He added: "It would be nicer to be able to brag about the title as well after my career."

Ruud has never played Nadal on the ATP Tour, but that does not mean this is their first meeting, as the Norwegian was part of the Rafa Nadal Academy.

The pair have faced one another in private – not that those encounters can offer Ruud much encouragement.

"He pretty much has always beaten me," he said. "There's been some close sets, 7-6, 7-5, but it always goes his favour.

"But it's because we are playing in the academy and I want to be nice to him..."

Related items

  • Kontaveit and Sakkari crash out in Ostrava, Jabeur safely through at Jasmin Open Kontaveit and Sakkari crash out in Ostrava, Jabeur safely through at Jasmin Open

    Anett Kontaveit and Maria Sakkari were both knocked out of the Ostrava Open on Thursday as several top seeds tumbled.

    Third seed Kontaveit, who won this competition last year, retired when a set down to Tereza Martincova, while world number seven Maria Sakkari was defeated 5-7 7-5 7-5 by 21-year-old American Alycia Parks in a big upset.

    Parks lost the opener but found two crucial breaks of serve when 6-5 up in both the second and third sets to eliminate the fourth seed.

    The withdrawal of Belinda Bencica – seeded sixth – with a foot injury put Barbora Krejcikova into the quarter-finals, while Ekaterina Alexandrova will also be in the last eight after overcoming fifth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-1 7-6 (7-1).

    The tournament favourites were in much better form at the Jasmin Open in Tunisia, as the top two seeds sealed their places in the quarter-finals with straight-sets wins.

    Favourite Ons Jabeur cruised to a 6-1 6-3 victory over Evgeniya Rodina, converting four of her seven break points to safely advance to the next round of her home tournament.

    And number two seed Veronika Kudermetova eased past Magdalena Frech 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Diane Parry.

  • Djokovic 'physically fresh and mentally motivated' after continuing strong form in Astana Djokovic 'physically fresh and mentally motivated' after continuing strong form in Astana

    Novak Djokovic is feeling "physically fresh and mentally motivated" after maintaining his positive form with victory over Botic Van De Zandschulp in round two of the Astana Open.

    The Serbian brushed aside Cristian Garin in his opener and did likewise in Thursday's match with Van De Zandschulp, prevailing in just 71 minutes in the Kazakh capital.

    Djokovic has now won six matches in a row and is seeking back-to-back titles after triumphing at the Tel Aviv Open last week – his 89th ATP singles crown.

    He reeled off five games in a row in the second set to advance 6-3 6-1, with that his 30th tour-level victory of the year.

    And as Djokovic nears the end of a rather mixed season, the 21-time grand slam winner is in the mood to add further titles to his collection.

    "My season is different from any other so don't look at my season in comparison to others," he said in his post-match interview.

    "I haven't played for over three months before Israel so I definitely am physically and mentally motivated to do well."

    Awaiting Djokovic in the quarter-final is Karen Khachanov, who eliminated Marin Cilic with a 2-6 6-3 6-3 comeback victory.

    World number four Daniil Medvedev also advanced thanks to a 6-3 6-2 win over Emil Ruusuvuori, while Hubert Hurkacz beat Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-4.

    At the Japan Open, third seed Taylor Fritz defeated Hiroki Moriya in three sets and will now face fifth seed Nick Kyrgios, who recovered to beat Kamil Majchrzak 3-6 6-2 6-2.

    Denis Shapovalov, looking to build on his run to the Seoul Open final, got the better of home hope Rio Noguchi with a 6-3 6-1 win to advance to the quarter-finals.

  • Raducanu forced to withdraw from Transylvania Open with wrist injury Raducanu forced to withdraw from Transylvania Open with wrist injury

    Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from the Transylvania Open with a wrist injury, compounding a miserable 2022 for the British number one.

    The teenager became an overnight star on the WTA Tour last year when she won the US Open women's singles title in her first appearance at Flushing Meadows.

    However, her attempts to follow up that success have been hamstrung by a succession of niggles, with Raducanu currently down at 67th in the world rankings.

    Her withdrawal from next week's event in Romania – the country from which her father hails – is just the latest injury problem, with Raducanu having been forced to quit during the semi-finals of last month's Korea Open with a glute problem.

    This followed a first-round retirement at the Nottingham Open before Wimbledon, though Raducanu ultimately recovered to reach the second round of the grass-court major.

    A first-round exit at the Ostrava Open this week, followed by the latest setback, means Raducanu's season appears effectively over, with the 19-year-old likely to set her focus on regaining full fitness ahead of 2023.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.