Casper Ruud dispatches Felix Auger-Aliassime, reaches Montreal SFs | ATP Tour

Kasper Ruud reached his third ATP Masters 1000 semifinal of the season on Friday when he benefited from a backfire from the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime Advance 6-1, 6-2 in Montreal.

The fourth seed recovered from dropping serve in the opening game as he played the more consistent and aggressive tennis throughout the clash on Court Central, with home favorites Auger-Aliassime losing errors from either flank.

The 23-year-old committed nine unforced errors in the match compared to Auger-Aliassime’s 25 while scoring with great accuracy to pull around the Canadian, who looked nervous in his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

“It was one of those days when everything speaks for itself and luckily it was in my favor. With a player like Felix, you have to count on some margin going your way. I didn’t expect that they would all go to my side,” Ruud said in his on-pitch interview. “The start was a bit difficult. I got broken, but then I was able to turn everything around. I hit my points, took the shots I needed and made him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

“I’m sure Felix played better than today. He sure has, I’ve seen it before. It’s a shame because he’s playing at home. Maybe that was a factor, you might be nervous but I won’t speak for Felix. It was a big moment. This arena was packed today and I’m glad I was able to win.”

With his 74-minute win, Ruud has improved to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series and will next play against the eighth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz.

The Norwegian has won three tour-level titles this year while he reached his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami in April, losing to the Spaniard Carlo Alcaraz. Ruud, ranked No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings, is now 38-13 on the season while holding an 11-3 record on hard courts.

“The last hard court tournament I played was in Miami, where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here,” said Ruud. “I didn’t think it was too likely that I’d be back the first hard court tournament, but I played great from the first point in the first game.”

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After breaks were traded early in the first set, it was Ruud who found his range to drive up front. The fourth seed hit his watertight backhand with precision and looked dominant on the return, with Auger-Aliassime hitting just 45 percent of his first serves in the opening set.

The Norwegian pushed further forward at the start of the second set, firing a series of stunning pass shots against the sixth seedling, who hit a double fault to suffer a double collapse in the second set. Ruud, who won 10 straight games in the match and hit 22 winners, held serve for the seventh time to secure victory.

Sixth-seeded Auger-Aliassime became the first Canadian to reach the quarterfinals at the hard-court event since Denis Shapovalov broke through the last four in Montreal in 2017.

The 22-year-old fell Yoshihito Nishioka and Cameron Norrie In straight sets earlier this week but battled Ruud throughout in front of a packed home crowd.

Did you know?
Ruud would move up to second place in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin if he wins the title in Montreal on Sunday, while climbing to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings, surpassing his previous career high No. 5

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