Casper Ruud defeated Matteo Berrettini to reach his first US Open semifinal and boosted his hopes of becoming world number one.
Fifth-seeded Ruud saved two set points in the decider on his way to a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Italy’s Berrettini under the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The French Open finalist needs to reach the final to oust Rafael Nadal for first place in the rankings and if he met Carlos Alcaraz for the trophy, the winner would also become world number one.
The Norwegian is certainly well placed to win his first Grand Slam title, with defeats for Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Marin Cilic in the fourth round meaning there will be a new men’s Major champion.
Ruud said of the ranking: “I don’t want to think about it too much. Of course, that’s what all young players dream of. I’ll see if I can do it.
“Of course it’s a little extra motivation to familiarize yourself. If I’m very, very lucky, I can leave New York number one in the world.”
Ruud was initially successful on clay but has developed into an all-court player whose main strengths are his powerful forehand, consistency and athleticism.
He dominated Berrettini in the early stages and took a 6-1, 5-1 lead before the Italian recovered and fought for the second set.
Berrettini then led 5-2 in the third and had two set points, but Ruud hit back and dominated the tiebreak to secure his spot in his second Slam semifinal.
The 23-year-old said: “It was a better start than I’ve ever had in a match, everything went as I wished. I was able to take the chances I got.
“Towards the end of the second set I got a little nervous because it was going almost too well. Sometimes you can get a little excited and think that you can walk on water. I managed to serve the second set and the third was very tough.”
Berrettini was disappointed with his performance, saying: “I think he had the best possible start and I helped him. He played a really good match and I played a really bad match.
“I really can’t say anything more than the worst day of the tournament, probably at the most important moment. I fought my way through, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel my game. I didn’t feel my way of thinking. I think he felt really good.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/matteo-berrettini-casper-ruud-us-open-arthur-ashe-stadium-rafael-nadal-b2161242.html Casper Ruud has his eye on world first after reaching the US Open semifinals