Francisco Cerúndolo, in the best year of his career: defeated Casper Ruud and won his first victory before a Top 10 and recent finalist at Roland Garros

Francisco Cerundolo he continues, con conviction, contrujendo la mejor temporada de su carrera. The Argentine tennis player of 23 years and 39° of the world ranking (his best historical position), achieved a high impact victory over the brick dust of ATP 250 de Bastad, Suecia. De hecho, it was his first victory against a player from the super elite: del Top 10. Por los octavos de final, the Portuguese defeated the Norwegian Casper Ruud (5th and 1st favorite) by 6-4, 3-6 and 7-5, in two hours and 33 minutes.

“I played very well in the first set and until half of the second, then I started to score a little bit better and I equaled everything. It represented a great challenge for me, because he is also a Roland Garros finalist [NdR: en junio pasado, en la definición del Abierto francés, Ruud cayó ante Rafael Nadal por 6-3, 6-3 y 6-0]. There was a bit of wind, but in Argentina we also have it and I’m used to it, so I had to hit the ball hard and I adapted very well,” said the mayor of the Cerúndolo brothers, at the foot of the court, no bien concretada la mejor victoria de su carrera.

El espectacular smash de Francisco Cerúndolo en el partido ante Ruud, en Bastad.
El espectacular smash de Francisco Cerúndolo en el partido ante Ruud, en Bastad.Nordea Open

Cerúndolo, whose coach is Kevin Konfederak, was 0-3 against rivals of the Top 10, due to falls in front of Diego Schwartzman in the final of Buenos Aires 2021 (El Peque, at the time, was 9th in the world), last April ante el propio Ruud (era 8°) in the semifinals of the Masters 1000 de Miami and, a few days ago, ante Rafa Nadal (4°) in the first round of Wimbledon, a match in which the Argentine played an outstanding partido (the Mallorcan se impuso por 6-4, 6-3, 3-6 y 6-4, en el court central).

El triunfo frente a Ruud tiene mucho valor para Cerúndolo, porque the Norwegian is, probably after Nadal (and at the margin of the last Roland Garros), the most outstanding player of the present time on slow surface. Ruud had a record of nine wins and one defeat in his last ten matches on clay – with his only defeat to Nadal in Paris – and an overall record of 21-6 on the same surface this season. Last July, the Nordic won titles in “terra batida” in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel to become the first player to win three trophies in consecutive weeks since Andy Murray in 2011 (Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai).

Sin embargo, Cerúndolo, a puro latigazo de drive, hizo daño en el juego de Ruud. In addition, he scored 55% of the first serves, won 65% of the points with the first serve and 66% with the second. No anotó aces, cometió dos doble faltas y le quebró tres veces el saque a Ruud. “This is my best year. I played good tennis in Miami, also in Rio de Janeiro [fue semifinalista]en Wimbledon contra Rafa… Espero seguir mejorando, mantenerme en este nivel”pointed out the Argentine, that in the quarterfinals of the Bastad ATP (certamen with 597,900 euros in prizes) he will compete with the winner of the clash between the Russian Aslan Karatsev (40°) and the Frenchman Hugo Gaston (58°).

Después de Cerúndolo fue el turno de Diego Schwartzman in the central stadium of the tournament. El 14° del ranking mundial y tercer preclasificado en Bastad debuted in el certamen europeo con una victory por 7-5 y 6-3 ante el local Elias Ymer (134°; received an invitation), en 1h53m. The Argentine won 78% of the first services of which he won 68% (and 57% with the second).

On Friday, Schwartzman’s rival will be the Spanish Pablo Carreño Busta (18°).

This Thursday, other two Argentines will compete in the Swedish tournament trying to reach the final quarters. Sebastián Baez (34°) ante el español Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (36°) y Federico Coria (65°; finalista de Bastad 2021) frente al ruso Andrey Rublev (8°).

Una alegría…, para el otro Cerúndolo

Juan Manuel Cerundolo, the champion of the ATP de Córdoba 2021, who lost ground this season due to a hip injury (it’s 114°, llegó a ser 79° en enero pasado), will return to the tour. En lo immediato, el zurdo tiene proyectado jugar los Challengers de Tampere (Finlandia; la semana próxima), Zug (Switzerland) y Cordenons (Italia). El menor de los Cerúndolo (20 years) has not competed since the end of May, in Forli.

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