Norwegian tennis star Casper Ruud was made to work hard by Denis Shapovalov during their Rome meeting but he escaped with a tight 7-6 (7) 7-5 win.
It was an intense and tight battle between the two but it was Ruud that escaped with a straight-set win.
”I think one of the most important things on clay is to put a lot of first serves in. Today was working well,” Ruud said, per the ATP Tour website. “I was serving well all match. At the beginning you are sometimes a bit nervous and excited to start, but after that I was able to calm down and find my tempo.”
Ruud won in straight sets but it was a tight battle
Ruud faced a break point in the third game but saved it to avoid going down by an early break.
After saving a break point, Ruud had his first break points in the eighth game but failed to get a break after missing out on four break points.
As no breaks were seen, the set went into a tie-break.
In the tie-break, Ruud saved a break point before realizing his second set point to win an extremely tight opener.
In the second set, Shapovalov had a set point on Ruud’s serve in the 10th game but failed to convert as Ruud tied the set to five games apiece.
After missing out on a set point in the 10th game, Shapovalov paid the price as Ruud earned the first break of the match in the 11th game.
In the following game, Ruud served out for the match.
“You always feel the nerves a little bit extra on break points, especially against a big server such as Shapo,” Ruud said. “It is not easy to get a break against him, so you need to take the chances you have and the one I got was enough to seal the second set.”
It was the second meeting between Ruud and Shapovalov.
Last year, Ruud beat Shapovalov in the Geneva final.