Ruud upsets Djokovic to join Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo final

tennis13 April 2024 17:36| Ā© Reuters
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Ā© Gallo Images

Casper Ruud stunned top seed Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4 in a thrilling Monte Carlo Masters semifinal on Saturday, avenging his loss in last year's French Open final to set up a title clash with twice champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek Tsitsipas upset second seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the first semifinal.

Norwegian Ruud, who had lost to Djokovic in all five of their previous matches, broke twice early in the first set before the Serbian record 24-times Grand Slam champion fought back strongly in the second.

Eighth seed Ruud held his nerve, however, as five unforced errors from Djokovic allowed him to go 3-0 up in the decider and he calmly closed out the victory.

"This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a world No 1 is something I have never done," Ruud said in a post-match interview.

"You know how good these guys are under pressure... he saved so many break points. I was praying, please, let it be a double fault or something. And maybe someone was listening."

This year's Australian Open winner Sinner made a comeback in the second set after losing the first to Tsitsipas. He led 4-3 in the decider when leg cramps forced him to take a medical timeout.

The 22-year-old Italian continued but proved no match for Tsitsipas who won the next three games to clinch victory.

"It was tennis at the highest level that I have been able to play," Tsitsipas said.

"He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far... to find a way when there were not many, I am extremely proud of that."

The win over Sinner brought Tsitsipas back into the top 10 of the world rankings after dropping out for the first time since 2019 earlier this year.