Casper Ruud withdraws from pre-Wimbledon event


World no. 4 Casper Ruud will not play at the next week’s ATP 500 event in Halle. Casper will not play official matches on grass, his least favorite surface, ahead of the season’s third Major, needing more time off the court after playing his third Major final at Roland Garros. The Norwegian defended last year’s points in Paris and remained in the top-4. Ruud does not have to think about ranking positions in the upcoming month, failing to win points at Queen’s, Wimbledon and Bastad a year ago. Casper is 22-12 in 2023, winning the Estoril title and finding his form in the last couple of weeks. The Norwegian played in the Rome Masters semi-final and scored six wins at Roland Garros to advance into his third Major final. Ruud defeated Holger Rune in the quarter-final and stormed over Alexander Zverev in the next round to set the title clash against Novak Djokovic. Seeking the record-breaking 23rd Major title, Novak beat Casper 7-6, 6-3, 7-5 in three hours and 13 minutes, leaving the Norwegian empty-handed in his third Major final.

Casper Ruud will not compete in Halle next week.

Djokovic served above 70%, hitting 11 aces and dominating with his first serve. The Serb lost serve once from four chances offered to his rival and delivered three breaks from ten opportunities to write history books. Novak fired 52 winners and 32 unforced errors and destroyed Casper in the shortest rallies up to four strokes. Ruud fought well, giving his everything but failing to win at least a set. Casper kicked off the action with three fine holds and pushed strong on the return in game two. The Norwegian seized the third break chance after the Serb’s smash error. Djokovic pulled the break back at 2-4 after the rival’s loose smash to regain confidence. Novak saved a break point in game eight to level the score at 4-4 and missed his opportunity on the return in the next one. The set went into a tie break, and the Serb displayed his nerves of steel.

Djokovic cracked a forehand down the line winner in the first point and moved 2-0 up with a volley winner at the net. Novak forced the rival’s mistake for 4-1 and created five set points with an ace. The Serb fired a forehand crosscourt winner on the first to wrap up the opener in 81 minutes and gain a massive boost. Djokovic dropped only five points behind the initial shot and grabbed an early break that sent him in front. He broke Ruud with a forced error in the second game and landed a backhand down the line winner at 5-3 for a hold at love and a massive advantage. There were no breaks in the third set until the crucial moment at 5-5. Novak used his experience and played everything right to grab a break at love with a backhand crosscourt winner. Djokovic served for the title at 6-5 and held at 15 to start a massive celebration of a record-breaking title.

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