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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday October 3, 2021

 
Casper Ruud

Norway's Casper Ruud ran roughshod over Cameron Norrie in San Diego to claim his fifth title of the season.

Photo Source: TTV

Casper Ruud continues to shine in 2021.

The 10th-ranked Norwegian claimed his first career hard court title on Sunday, defeating Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, 6-0, 6-2, at the San Diego Open to remain perfect in finals in 2021.

Tennis Express

Ruud, who improves to 47-12 with his victory, now sits atop the ATP’s list of title leaders for 2021, ahead of Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, who each have four.

“Obviously Daniil and Novak, they have bigger titles,” he joked after the final. “I wouldn’t mind switching up with them if I had the opportunity. Five 250s for three Slams and a 250 that Novak has, it’s a bit higher level but that’s fine, I think that’s more impressive obviously, but I will take it, I’m leading this week… it will be fun to end the year with the most titles, I cannot lie about that.”


Ruud finds himself in eighth place in the ATP’s Race to Turin, but he’s technically seventh because the current No.7, Rafael Nadal, has called it a season already. That means the Norwegian has a very good chance to finish his season at the ATP Finals, after starting his campaign at 27 in the world – an impressive change of fortune.

The 22-year-old has also changed his fortunes on hard courts this season. He started the season with 16 ATP wins on the surface. After today’s lopsided victory over Norrie he now has 17 in 2021, and his first title on the surface.

Ruud says that losing two of his first three finals shaped the way he approaches title matches these days. He says the sting of losing has taught him to go big or go home.

"I tried to be playing really good in finals knowing it's now or never. This is the time to bring your 'A' game," Ruud said. "This year I've been perfect in finals, five of five and playing against good players in all of them."

On Sunday Ruud was impervious to the pressure in the final. He lost just 12 points on serve and was calm and composed from start to finish. He never faced a break point against Norrie, and converted five of six break opportunities to win in just over an hour.

Ruud has only lost one of 11 sets in his five finals in 2021, but today’s effort was by far his most lopsided victory in a title match.

Ruud will always be most lethal on hard courts, where he is 28-5 on the season with four titles, but his ability to adapt and even thrive on hard courts will help him continue to rise in the ranking and potentially reach the top five.

At 22, and already No.10 in the world, it appears that Ruud is on his way to a brilliant career. He will head to Indian Wells to make his main draw debut at the BNP Paribas Open, and it’s easy to see Ruud having success in the California desert, where the ball flies through the air and bounces high and heavy off the hard court.


 

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