Casper Ruud (21) struggled to advance to the third round of the French Open. There, the Norwegian meets world tree Dominic Thiem (27).
Casper Ruud – Tommy Paul 6–1, 1–6, 6–3, 1–6
Casper Ruud ended up with a demonstration of power in the first set against American Tommy Paul on the gravel track in Paris. The Norwegian won 6-1 first, before Paul fought back in the match.
Ruud decided in the fifth and final set, and is thus on to the third round of the French Open. There he meets the Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is ranked number three in the world.
– This was completely wild, I can not believe what I saw. Casper performs best when it comes to, and is so mentally ill. Ruud gets a head start, but Paul does not give up and comes back. It will be a roller coaster, but he takes it in the five-setter, and it is a wonderful feeling, says tennis expert at Eurosport Melanie Stokke, after the match.
Coach dad Christian Ruud was also pleased with what he saw in the match against Paul.
– I am very happy with the victory, it was a roller coaster. Casper shows that he is in good shape, and has the confidence and belief in his own skills. He takes the fifth set in raw style, says Christian Ruud to Eurosport.
Opened terrific: – World class
Ruud got off to a flying start in the first set. The 21-year-old from Snarøya kept up with a demonstration of power and crushed Paul 6-1. The Norwegian spent no more than 30 minutes crushing the American in the first set.
– A fantastic opening, it’s almost like we do not think so. We have hardly played a quarter of an hour, also the first set is already in Ruud’s pocket. There is a lot left, but this has been a great start, said Eurosport commentator Eirik Fure midway through the first set.
The Norwegian led 5-0 in the game, and was about to clear the table in the first set, before he finally won 6-1.
– The forehand that is world class. And with a world-class forehand, it will also be 5-0 in the game. It’s very impressive of Casper Ruud so far. He has ravaged. 6-1 in the first set, said the commentator.
At the very end of the first set, Ruud lost his footing and fell to the ground. But even though there was great tension attached to Ruud’s right shoulder, the Norwegian seemed healthy and fine after he recovered quickly.
Casper Ruud before big tournament: – Hope to be ready for everything
Paul fought back
But even though many thought this was going to be an easy day at work for Ruud, Paul wanted it to be different. The American fought masterfully into the match and won the second set 6-1.
The following set was far smoother, and Ruud eventually won 6-3.
In the fourth set, Ruud struggled violently, while Paul impressed. The American thus won 6-1, and got a sweet revenge from the Norwegian’s first set.
Thus, it all had to be decided in the fifth and final set on track 13 in Paris.
It was the most even set of the match. Paul had no chance in the games that Ruud had serve, while the Norwegian himself was close to breaking the American on several occasions.
After an intense battle in the eighth game, Ruud finally managed to break Paul, after the American was sloppy on two servers in a row.
In the ninth game, Ruud abused four match balls, before taking the victory on his fifth match ball.
– For a wear winner this is. Now he meets the “gravel prince” Dominic Thiem. It is completely raw to follow Casper Ruud during the day, Fure said after Ruud had won the match.
Meets world star
In the third round, as I said, Dominic Thiem is waiting. The 27-year-old from Austria won his first Grand Slam title when he reached the top of the US Open earlier in September. The match between Ruud and Thiem will most likely be played on Friday.
Thiem won 6–1, 6–3 and 8–6 against American Jack Sock in the second round. The Austrian reached the final of last year’s French Open, where he had to be beaten by Rafael Nadal.
Still, Christian Ruud does not think the new tennis comet will make it easy against Casper.
– Casper has shown in recent weeks that he is up and knows the level of the best guys, especially on gravel. So I hope he can be fresh for that match, so he can excel a bit, Ruud told Eurosport.
Ruud has met Thiem once earlier in his career. The duo met for a show match in July where Thiem finally won 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) after a very even settlement in Kitzbühel.
Ruud has been in the third round of Roland Garros once before. That was in 2019, when he had to see himself beaten by world star Roger Federer.