Casper Ruud and Holger Rune go head to head in a mouth-watering all-Scandinavian Italian Open semi-final in Rome on Saturday….
Casper Ruud and Holger Rune go head to head in a mouth-watering all-Scandinavian Italian Open semi-final in Rome on Saturday.
Both seeking a maiden clay-court ATP Masters 1000 title, the fourth and seventh seeds collide for the right to play either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the championship match at Foro Italico.
Ruud has dominated the head-to-head record, winning all four of their previous meetings including a four-set triumph in last year’s French Open quarter-finals.
Their fifth clash represents the first all-Scandinavian semi-final at an ATP Masters 1000 event since Jonas Bjorkman overcame Thomas Enqvist in Paris 26 years ago.
This is familiar territory for Ruud, who is aiming to make it third time lucky having fallen at this stage in each of his last two appearances in the Italian capital.
A winner in Estoril, the Norwegian boasted a generally modest ATP Masters 1000 record this season, failing to progress beyond round three in any such event prior to this fortnight.
Indeed, the 2022 Miami runner-up has endured a timely upturn in fortunes by defeating Arthur Rinderknech, Alexander Bublik, Laslo Djere and Francisco Cerundolo to stand on the brink of his second Masters final
Meanwhile, it has been a debut to remember for Rune in Rome, where he has already dethroned reigning champion Novak Djokovic.
A champion in Munich and Monte Carlo runner-up to Andrey Rublev, the Dane has continued his impressive clay-court season, with wins over Djokovic, Arthur Fils, Fabio Fognini and Alexei Popyrin taking his record to 12-2.
The 2022 Paris Masters champion has also held in 42 of his 47 service games this fortnight on the way to reaching a third semi-final in his last six ATP Masters 1000 events.
Medvedev or Tsitsipas awaits the winner of this showdown, which will be contested over the best of three sets at Foro Italico in Rome on Saturday.
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