The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

407 ETR Pitstop: Tsitsipas snaps Ruud’s 13-match winning streak, awaits Opelka in semi-final

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August 13, 2021
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By Max Gao

No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his fine form this week at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto, cruising past No. 6 seed Casper Ruud, 6-1, 6-4, to record his tour-leading 45th victory of the season and snap the Norweigian’s 13-match winning streak.

Tsitsipas, the 2018 finalist at this event and the newly-minted World No. 3, raced out of the blocks against Ruud, jumping out to a 5-0 lead with some impressive first-strike tennis. The Greek put his Norwegian counterpart on the back foot in the majority of their exchanges, committing just four unforced errors and dropping just three points on his serve (16/19) en route to winning the first set.

The second set, however, was a much tighter affair as Ruud, who won a hat trick of clay-court titles in Europe before coming to Toronto, began to find his range. The Norwegian was able to use his forehand to keep Tsitsipas on the move, but he was unable to convert his only break point of the match in the second game. Tsitsipas would stay on serve with Ruud before claiming a crucial break at 4-all and successfully serving out the match, claiming the victory in an hour and 14 minutes.

“It is very nice to see myself perform at this level. I was sticking close to the baseline and coming in, taking the ball early,” Tsitsipas told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani in his on-court interview. “It was my intention from the very beginning, and it worked perfectly.”

Tsitsipas will now face Reilly Opelka, who continued his breakout week at the Sobeys Stadium with another impressive victory — this time against No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 7-6(1). In another extremely clean performance from the big-serving American, Opelka fired 18 aces, didn’t face a single break point and won 85 percent (35/41) of his first-serve points in an hour and 21 minutes.

“I played an unbelievable breaker, especially match point,” Opelka said, referring to a screaming forehand winner down-the-line to win the match. “I hit my forehand great, I served well. Everything has to be on in order to beat that guy, especially in straight sets. He’s one of the toughest guys out here, especially for me to play, so I think it says a lot about the improvements I’ve made and all of the things I’ve been working on with my coach.”