Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas’ season continued to go from strength to strength on Friday in Toronto. The Greek recorded a 45th tour-leading victory of the year to defeat the in-form Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.
The 23-year-old, who rose to a career-high No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday, served well throughout and hit the ball with great power and depth to advance to his seventh ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in 74 minutes.
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Tsitsipas is aiming to win his third tour-level title of the season this week in Toronto. The 23-year-old, currently second in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, captured his first Masters 1000 crown in Monte-Carlo in April and lifted the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon trophy in May.
The Roland Garros finalist has fond memories in Toronto. In 2018, Tsitsipas overcame four Top 10 opponents as he enjoyed a dream breakthrough run to the final. Tsitsipas will next face either 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut or American Reilly Opelka as he tries to advance to the championship match in Canada again.
Tsitsipas made a fast start against Ruud, dominating the longer rallies and stepping inside the baseline as he closed points out at the net to race 5-0 ahead. The Greek committed just four unforced errors in the first set to lead as Ruud struggled to find his rhythm.
However, the Norwegian improved at the start of the second set as he started to use his forehand to move Tsitsipas around the court. After earning a break point in the second game, Ruud was unable to capitalise as he fired long. This hold further fuelled Tsitsipas, who then broke at 4-4 before serving out to secure his victory. The Greek has now tied their ATP Head2Head series at 1-1, gaining revenge from his defeat to Ruud in Madrid in May.
Ruud was bidding to earn the 100th tour-level win of his career on Friday and 14th straight victory, having won three consecutive clay-court titles in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbühel in recent weeks.