Casper Ruud Knocks out No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Monaco

Casper Ruud Knocks out No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Monaco

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during the semifinal match against Casper Ruud of Norway during day seven of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, on April 13, 2024. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Field Level Media

Field Level Media

4/13/2024

Updated: 4/13/2024

Casper Ruud denied Novak Djokovic his shot at a third Rolex Monte Carlo Masters title, defeating the World’s top-ranked player 6–4, 1–6, 6–4 in the semifinals on Saturday in Monaco.
Ruud became the first Norwegian man to defeat a World No. 1 since the inception of the rankings in 1973.
Djokovic had two double faults in the two-hour, 17-minute match, none more costly than on break point—and match point—in the deciding game of the third set.
With Ruud up 5–4, and Djokovic serving down 30–40, his second serve went long to give Ruud his fourth break and the match.
“I am super happy,” Ruud said. “This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.
“I was up in the third and he came back, typical how good these guys are under pressure. And I was thinking please don’t let this slip away and 0/40 in the last game, it is not done. When he missed the first serve [at 30/40], he saved so many break points in crazy ways, with huge second serves. I prayed one time, let it be a double fault and something above listened and of course it was unfortunate to end the match with a double fault but for me it was nice to see that ball sail long.”
Ruud had played against the Serbian five times previously and had never won a set. Coming into the match, he was 0–11 against players with top-3 rankings.
The No. 8-seeded Ruud was up 4–1 in the third set and saw Djokovic rally to even the set at 4–4. Ruud won his next service game—Djokovic had four breaks of his own—to set up the deciding game.
Ruud has 10 ATP titles, with nine of them coming on clay. But he never has won a tournament above the ATP 250 level.
He'll have a shot at his first ATP 1000 win on Sunday when he meets Stefanos Tsitstpas of Greece in the final.
Tsitsipas, the No. 12 seed, staged his own rally to defeat No. 2 Jannik Sinner of Italy 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 to reach the final in Monaco, where he is a two-time champion.
With Sinner up 4-2 in the third set, Tsitsipas won a marathon eighth game to break Sinner and level the score, then won four points on Ruud’s next serve to grab his fourth straight game and the match.
“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play,” Tsitspas said of the two-hour, 41-minute match. “Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game.
“He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and [the] way I overcame it is true excellence.”
Tsitsipas, who won in Monaco in 2021 and 2022, got his first top-3 win since 2022. He will be appearing in his seventh ATP Masters 1000 final.
“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”
Casper Ruud of Norway is congratulated after his win in the semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day seven of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on April 13, 2024. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Casper Ruud of Norway is congratulated after his win in the semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day seven of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on April 13, 2024. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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