The year is 2023 and Andrey Rublev starts his reign in Båstad. After an incredible first set, the world No. 7 toppled the 2021 champion Casper Ruud. Rublev put relentless pressure on the Norwegian to finally capture his first trophy at the Nordea Open.
Both players walked on Centre Court with their fingers crossed, and eyes on the sky on Sunday afternoon. The weather was bound to be uncertain, but Ruud and Rublev were determined to showcase their best tennis for this world class final between two top 10 players.
Casper Ruud won the toss and chose to engage. Both players held their serve in the first four games. Despite Don Bajas (Ruud’s dog) encouragements that Casper heard on court, at 3-2 the world No. 4 seemed to show some signs of fatigue. With a powerful crossed forehand, Andrey Rublev secured a break to take a 4-2 lead. The Scandinavian struggled against an explosive opponent, but held a critical service game to prevent the World No.7 from taking an even stronger advantage. Ruud worked extremely hard to construct a comeback breakpoint, with a beautifully crafted sliced backhand. Finally finding his groundstroke powerful forehand, he levelled the game at 4-4. Whilst the world No.7 appeared to have more opportunities to strike first and take a decisive lead, the Oslo-born somehow clawed back into the match. He maintained the pressure on his opponent, returning from a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 lead. With exquisite tennis firing from both sides of the net, players went into a deciding tie-break in the first set. It was Rublev who took the first mini-break to obtain a 6-2 lead and gain four set points. On his second attempt, the Monte Carlo champion clinched the first set 7-6(3).
In the second set, the first-seed grappled to find a consistent pace in his game. Once again, Rublev struck first and converted a breakpoint earlier than his opponent. At 3-0 and three break points against him, the World No.4 even slipped and fell down on Centre Court but avoided what could have been a more serious injury. From then on, Andrey cruised through the set and took the win on the final score of 7-6, 6-0.
In his press conference, Casper confessed that “He [Rublev] had all the answers to my game today”. The new 2023 Båstad champion added that “The conditions were similar in Monte-Carlo during the semifinals, and it helped me a bit, but I also played really well, hitting the lines […]. ” With this new trophy after this impressive win in Båstad, Rublev will now rise to the 4th place in the ATP-live ranking.
Sunday’s final between the top two seeds world No.4 Casper Ruud and No. 7 Andrey Rublev concluded two weeks of fantastic tennis at the Nordea Open. The crowd showed great love and support for ”the most Swedish of Norwegians” Casper Ruud and a kids’ and crowd favourite Andrey Rublev. The 2023 champion ended his tour on court with a promise to return next year to defend his title, and many tennis fans will be waiting to see him again soon at the Nordea Open.
Nordea Open Press Team