ATP Tour

Ruud overcomes tall order to reach Geneva final

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Casper Ruud (Getty Images)
Casper Ruud (Getty Images)

Casper Ruud made it back into the Geneva Open final with a close-fought 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 victory over Reilly Opelka on Friday to maintain his impressive form ahead of Roland-Garros.

Ruud is the defending champion on the Swiss clay and is now one match away from strolling into next week's French Open with the Geneva title under his belt once again.

The 28-man tournament serves as a timely tune-up for Paris and the second Grand Slam of the year.

Norwegian world number eight Ruud faced a tough test in the towering serve of US world number 18 Opelka, who at 2.11m is the joint-tallest player ever on the tour.

Opelka served up his first double fault on the first break point of the contest to leave Ruud serving for the match.

The 23-year-old won it with an ace to seal the semi-final in 90 minutes on the 3 000-capacity centre court.

"I am looking forward to the final," Ruud said.

"It was a tough match against Opelka, like it always is. The serve he has is incredibly difficult to return here, with the altitude.

"I was able to take the small chances I had and I feel like I served well and was solid, with not too many mistakes. That is key in matches like this."

Sousa awaits in final

The Geneva title comes with $81 310 in prize money, while the runner-up earns $47 430.

Ruud is on a roll, having reached the semis in Rome last week, and is aiming to capture his second tour title of the season after winning Buenos Aires in February.

Ruud will face Portugal's Joao Sousa, ranked 79 in the world, in Saturday's final.

Ruud has won their two previous meetings, both on clay in Brazil in 2019 - at Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Like Ruud, Sousa is also on good recent form, having won the Pune title in February.

The 33-year-old beat French veteran Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2 in Friday's second Geneva semi-final.

Gasquet knocked out world number two Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16, in what was the US Open champion's first match back following a hernia operation.

Sousa, who reached the Geneva final in 2015, had little time to rest after his semi-final victory: he was due back out on court with compatriot Francisco Cabral in the doubles semis.

The pair were due to face Pablo Andujar and Matwe Middelkoop for a place in Saturday's final against Croatian top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

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