Casper Ruud Nadal

Casper Ruud silences doubters to reach first hard-court semi-final

Casper Ruud is starting to earn respect on the hard-courts after moving on to the semi-finals in San Diego with a comprehensive victory over Lorenzo Sonego.

The Norwegian star is building his hard-court game ahead of a very probable appearance at the ATP Finals and showed his capabilities on the surface with a 6-1 6-4 victory.

Although Ruud’s place in the Top 10 has been underpinned by his four clay titles, the 22-year-old showed he is more than just a ‘clay-courter’ by reaching his first semi-final on the hard-court surface.

“This is my first semi-final on hard court after reaching the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati, so it’s another important step in my young career,” Ruud said.

β€œIt gives me confidence for tomorrow and the belief that I can beat good players on this surface.”

Although Ruud has previously struggled on the hard-courts, his quarter-final appearances at two Masters 1000 events and his victory over Reilly Opelka at the Laver Cup puts him in a good position ahead of a potential ATP Finals appearance.

“It was closer than it may have seemed, but the key moments and important points went my way today,” said Ruud, who is looking to add a tour-high fifth title of the season.

“The three times I broke him they were close games and at 4-3 in the second I got into a little bit of trouble on my serve but I was able to serve out a close game.”

Ruud will now face Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final after the Bulgarian improved to 17-14 on the year with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 win over Aslan Karatsev.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.