Top seed Casper Ruud is one set away from becoming the first player since Andy Murray in 2011 to complete an ATP Tour hat-trick. The Norwegian leads Spaniard Pedro Martinez by a set in the Generali Open final in Kitzbühel after claiming the opener 6-1 before rain stopped play.
When Ruud returns, he will be aiming to win a 12th consecutive match, having lifted titles at the Nordea Open and Swiss Open Gstaad in July. The 22-year-old’s strong clay-court form has seen him rise to ninth place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.
The Norwegian is aiming to match Murray’s achievement from October 2011 when the former World No. 1 lifted the trophies in Bangkok (d. Young), Tokyo (d. Nadal) and Shanghai (d. Ferrer) in three consecutive weeks.
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Ruud, who also captured the Gonet Geneva Open crown (d. Shapovalov) in May, began the first set well. He controlled the tempo with his backhand before stepping inside the baseline to attack on the forehand. He raced into a 3-1 lead and was strong on serve, not facing a break point to move one set ahead after 40 minutes before the rain began to fall.
Spain’s Martinez is competing in his first ATP Tour final on Saturday. The 24-year-old secured the biggest win of his career by FedEx ATP Ranking when he overcame World No. 16 Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the championship match.