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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday November 19, 2022

Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud survived a late push from Andrey Rublev to reach the final in Turin with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Casper Ruud’s fantastic 2022 season is going down to the wire. The Norwegian, who reached his first two major finals of 2022 this season, at Roland-Garros and the US Open, will play for the title at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin after defeating Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday evening.

Tennis Express

He will face Novak Djokovic, the five-time champion, in the final.

Ruud was quick to the punch on Saturday as he raced out to a 6-2, 4-0 lead over Rublev. The Russian, who also lost to Ruud at the ATP Finals in 2021, entered the contest with a 4-1 lifetime record against the Norwegian. But he was too far back to make a difference in the match, despite two late breaks that put some pressure on Ruud at 5-4 in the second set.

“It's tough sometimes because things are obviously going great but sometimes it can go almost too great or too well so you feel like you can do anything with the ball then you can get a little bit ahead of yourself,” Ruud said after the match. “I knew that I had a backup break. I wasn't stressing too much.”

Ruud can rise to No.2 in the ATP rankings if he claims victory on Sunday. It has been a breakthrough year for the Norwegian, and his record stands at 51-21 on the season with three titles.

He said he targeted Rublev’s backhand, in order to avoid the Russian's high-octane forehand. The strategy paid dividends.

On Sunday he takes a 0-3 lifetime record into the final against Djokovic. He has never won a set against the 21-time major champ, but believes that Djokovic will be feeling the pressure as he attempts to tie Roger Federer's all-time record of six ATP Finals titles on Sunday. The Serb, who defeated Taylor Fritz on Saturday, 7-6(5), 7-6(6), will bid for his 91st ATP title.

“He's a player that doesn't have many weaknesses at all,” Ruud said. "But he's human. He's had a great year, even though he's been unfortunate with everything that has been going on for him but he is human – he lost two weeks ago to Rune in the finals."

Ruud is hoping to play the underdog card and use the experience he has gained from reaching his four biggest career finals - at Miami, Roland-Garros, the US Open and the ATP Finals.

“I feel like the underdog," he said. "He has won this tournament five times and I've seen them all on TV, how great he has played, so if there's any tactic I don't know.

"Like I said he doesn't really have any weaknesses, but he's played a little bit more tennis than I have. I'm not sure if he will feel tired, probably not, but this is the perfect way for me to go into the final – I hope I can save some of this great tennis for tomorrow and see what happens.”


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