Casper Ruud a fini par serrer le poing en finale du Gonet Geneva Open. (Photo by GABRIEL MONNET / AFP)

Tennis: Casper Ruud creates the double after a marathon final

updated

Despite the bravery of an admirable João Sousa, the Norwegian defended his title at the Gonet Geneva Open after a three-hour final (7-6, 4-6, 7-6).

Casper Ruud clenched his fist in the final of the Gonet Geneva Open. (Photo by GABRIEL MONNET / AFP)

AFP

Mats Wilander and Stan Wawrinka are no longer the only double winners of the Gonet Geneva Open. Casper Ruud successfully defended his title on Saturday afternoon in the pot in the Parc des Eaux-Vives. It took the Norwegian (ATP 8) three sets and three hours of intense wrestling to defeat an exceptionally selfless João Sousa (ATP 79) (7-6, 4-6, 7-6).

What did this final between marathon runners take place? A few points, almost nothing. Points that Casper Ruud got with this huge forehand smack like during the two mini-breaks at the beginning of the decisive tie-break. João Sousa has no such fortune. So he always has to make the right choice, always put in one more shot. A requirement he missed for a single moment when he served to the match at 5-4 in the third set. His arm then began to tremble imperceptibly (a terrible forehand held at 15-0). It wasn’t much. But the game had just changed direction for the last time.

“You can’t let Casper hold your hand, he’s too strong.”

Joao Sousa

“It’s hard to lose a final like this when you’re playing so well,” sighed the Portuguese. At the score of 5:4, 15:0 I didn’t make any mistakes, but I should have created more. You can’t let Casper hold your hand, he’s too strong. After that I loved my week and the energy I got from the public. Also, my family surprised me when they came today. I’m sorry I didn’t win for her, for her.”

Exemplary attitude

Although he will regret it, João Sousa deserves praise here. If the audience at the Gonet Geneva Open experienced a grandiose finale, it owes it above all to their performance. It took a lot of courage and supersonic legs to resist the promise of Casper Ruud, finalist in Madrid, semi-finalist in Rome, as he flew away in the first set (5-3).

But João Sousa is not the type to give up, even when provoked by a high society fanatic from his dressing room (he is kicked out under the whistles). He runs, defends, scrapes inches off the ground, strike after strike, and advances whenever an opportunity arises. An exemplary attitude that does not console him, but which conquers the hearts of the Geneva public.

“I’ll have 10,000 or 15,000 French against me but I feel ready for this experience.”

Casper Ruud on his first round match against Tsonga at the French Open

Casper Ruud navigates in another dimension. He gets on the TGV to Paris on Sunday evening with Roland Garros outsider status. Placed in the good half of the table – without the monsters Nadal, Djokovic and Alcaraz – the Norwegian has collected enough wins on clay in the last month to catapult himself into the second week. Provided, of course, to get out of the “emotional trap” that put him the draw: a first round on the chatrier against a Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who will say goodbye there.

“Playing against Tsonga for your last Roland-Garros is very special,” admitted the champion. I’ll have 10,000 or 15,000 French against me but I feel ready for this experience. And even if it’s difficult for him, I hope that Jo-Wilfried will play well in the last match of his career against me.

In this sense, Casper Ruud was happy “after Paire, Kokkinakis and Opelka to have finally played a physical match with changes”. And what about this completely unbalanced Parisian painting? Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity? “Sometimes the draw gives a little crazy stuff. It is true that of Roland’s four favorites – Nadal, Djokovic, Alcaraz and Tsitsipás – three are in the top half. I saw I was down but I don’t plan that far. Not yet.


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