Casper Ruud keeps US Open title and No 1 dreams alive with clinical display – ‘It’s a bit of extra motivation’

A delighted Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud produced a scintillating fourth-round performance to oust Matteo Berrettini from the US Open with the result keeping his hopes of becoming world No 1 alive.

World No 7 Ruud, who already made history by reaching the quarter-final at Flushing Meadows as he is the first Norwegian to do so, dominated from the start and, after a brief fight back from Berrettini, he closed out the deal.

The 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) scoreline looked a lot more respectable for the Italian than what took place on the court as Ruud reached his second Grand Slam semi-final of 2022 following his run to the Roland Garros final.

The fifth seed was brutal in the opening set as he blew Berrettini away with brilliant serves and powerful strokes. He broke three times to race into a 5-0 lead. He dropped only 13 points in the opening set.

He also dominated the early stages of the second set with some super shot making as he raced into a 5-1 lead. He had three sets points at 5-2 but his Italian opponent held firm and then claimed one break back in game eight before Ruud served it out.

Berrettini appeared to have a revival as he again got some joy on the Ruud serve early in the third set to go 3-0 up and then had two set points in game eight.

It turned out to be a couple of big misses as the Norwegian was back level on serve in the next game and it eventually went to the tie-breaker with Ruud coming out on top.

“That was a better start than I ever had before. Everything was going my way plus Matteo didn’t serve as well as he usually does,” Ruud said.

“I got a little nervous towards the end of the second set because things were going a little too well. You think you can walk on water, which is not possible. The third set was very tough.”

The win also kept his hopes of becoming world No 1 alive as he is vying for top spot alongside Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud in ATP Rankings race

“I don’t want to think too much about it,” he said. “It is something all young players think about. I had no idea I could be No 1 when I started this tournament.

“It’s a bit of extra motivation to dig in and keep fighting. If I am very lucky I can leave New York as world No 1.”

Ruud will face either Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov for a place in the US Open final.