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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Tsitsipas dismantles Ruud to secure third Monte Carlo title

By Reuters
April 15, 2024
Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas with trophy. — AFP/File
Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas with trophy. — AFP/File

MONTE CARLO: Stefanos Tsitsipas made short work of Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud as he seized a third Monte Carlo Masters title in four years with a 6-1 6-4 victory on Sunday. Tsitsipas dominated proceedings against fellow 25-year-old Ruud from the onset, cruising through six consecutive games to wrap up the opening set in 36 minutes.

The second set was a much closer affair but Tsitsipas proved too strong for Ruud, as the Greek became the first player in the professional era to win his first three Monte Carlo finals in straight sets. Tsitsipas, who handed Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner just his second defeat of the year in the semi-finals on Saturday, secured his first title of 2024, taking his career haul to 11.The victory took Tsitsipas to seventh in the world rankings and he fell to the floor in emotion after his win.

“I am extremely grateful to my friends, family and everyone behind this journey,” he added. “To win three [titles] is just unbelievable - it was a nerve-wracking game but I am extremely happy.”

The success concluded a significant tournament for Tsitsipas as he also beat top-10 players Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner to reach the final. He joined Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase in the list of players to win three or more titles at Monte Carlo.

Tsitsipas committed to a fearless style of play, dominating on the forehand and challenging Ruud’s tactics of playing deep from the court. He broke Ruud’s serve in the third game of the first set and the Norwegian, who struggled for fluency, could not recover.

The 25-year-old Ruud improved significantly in the second set and a tense seventh game lasted 13 minutes, but Tsitsipas survived three break points. In an impressive all-round performance, he saved all eight break points he faced and converted four of his own eight break opportunities.

Tsitsipas joins Rafa Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase to win at least three Monte Carlo titles. “It’s been very difficult. To be back on the podiums and winning tournaments feels amazing,” Tsitsipas said.

“The trinity is even more special than the first or second time. This is purely unbelievable for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted the trinity so I got it. I’m extremely happy today.”

Having come into the claycourt Masters 1000 event with an 11-6 win-loss record for 2024, Tsitsipas will return to the world’s top 10 on Monday after dropping out for the first time since 2019 earlier in the year.