Casper Ruud predicts Andrey Rublev will “seek revenge” for eliminating him at last year’s ATP Finals at the group stage.
Ruud went on to face Rublev’s compatriot Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final, but ultimately lost out, and speaking exclusively to Eurosport, reflected on his and Rublev’s previous ATP Finals clash.
“From last year, I was able to win 7-6 in the third, very tough match,” Ruud analysed. “I still remember the ace that I hit on match point to make it to the semi-finals to move on from the group.
“I’m sure he also remembers and will try and seek revenge, and I will try to bring back good memories from what happened last year.”
Rublev played Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday night for a spot in the semi final and beat the second seed 3-6 6-3 6-2 to set up a clash with the Norweigan.
Ruud is aware of Rublev’s “aggressive” nature and admitted he will have to be fully focused to avoid an exit at the hands of the Russian.
“Andrey is a really good, great guy, and a good friend I would say, and a great player,” he said. “He plays with a very, very, very aggressive, hits the ball very hard as we all know.
“He goes more or less full power with the forehand and the backhand, and with the serve and I’m going to have to be alert, fast with my legs, and ready for his shots.
A fiery Rublev stormed back into the contest with Tsistipas in the second set after falling behind after the opener.
He completed the comeback to reach his maiden ATP Finals semi final, and relishes the opportunity to face Ruud at the end-of-year tournament once again.
“I don’t know if it can be different [this time] or not, but I’m really looking forward because Casper is such a nice person inside the court and outside the court,” Rublev said after the match on his upcoming contest with Ruud.
“He’s a great player, a great fighter, he achieved so many good things this season so it’s going to be a really, really good challenge for me, so I will do my best and we will see what’s going to happen.”
Ruud described reaching successive semi finals as a “great feeling”, as he looks to end a tough year on a high, bunched with the best players in the business.
“It means a lot,” Ruud answered when asked what it’s like to play on a stage like the ATP Finals. “I knew coming here that all the players a so good players. You need to play your best if you want any chance, and winning my first two matches was key for me moving on, that was obviously a great feeling.
“I already knew I was going to be in the semi-final after the second match so that was different from last year and a feel great of course, knowing I’ll play the semi-final tomorrow, and I’ve had some days now to prepare for that and think about that, I’m just very happy.
Ruud was beaten by 2022 group stage victim Medvedev 6-4 6-2 in last year’s semi-final, and he plans to build on last year’s exit with one eye on the final.
“It’s been a little bit of a tough losses, some struggles for me in the last weeks and months,” he said. “So to be able to end the year and the ATP Tour in a good way, with a good result here it means a lot, and of course, I hope I can keep it going and try to reach even one or two more steps than I did last year.”
Ruud and Rublev will play each other on Saturday night for a spot in Sunday’s final, and will play the winner of either Novak Djokovic or Taylor Fritz who face off in the other last-four tie.
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