A full house on Centre Court greeted the first semi-finalists on Saturday in Båstad for the first match of the day. Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti was set to challenge top-seed, and World No. 4 Casper Ruud. In a tough battle, and a suspenseful second set, the Norwegian 2021 Båstad champion prevailed: 6-3, 7-5.
At the start of the first set both players stood their ground each holding their serve. The two-time Roland Garros finalist seemed to be the most pragmatic, with cleaner shots displaying his usual calm and collected demeanour. At 3-2 in favour of the Scandinavian, Ruud raised his level to grasp an opportunity for a breakpoint. On his second attempt the top-seed took the lead 4-2 and confirmed the break to increase his lead 5-2. Under pressure to stay in the first set, Musetti held his serve forcing his opponent to close the set.
In the second set, in what could well be the shot of the day at 1-1, the Italian showed the skills that earned him a memorable victory over Novak Djokovic on clay earlier this year in Monte Carlo. Several flags could be spotted in the stands to cheer Lorenzo on, hoping for a second set in favour of the Italian.
Yet the wind swept in as a surprise guest, forcing the two players to be a little more creative. The beginning of the second set was extremely tense, both players feeling a slight frustration about their unforced errors. As the games advanced, a packed Centre Court began to wonder if Casper Ruud would manage to reach the final in straight sets, or if Lorenzo Musetti had what it takes to push the World No.4 into a third set, and perhaps sign the upset of the day.
In a nail biting end, it took a chess master move from the Norwegian to secure a second critical break against the world No 16. With Norwegian supporters cheering him on Center Court, Casper Ruud glided through to a second final in Båstad. “I have many family members and friends here to support me, it’s so nice to play almost at home, and great to be here in front of Scandinavian fans”.
On Sunday, Casper Ruud will battle against the winner of the second semi-final between the defending champion Francisco Cerundolo and World No.7 Andrey Rublev in what promises to be a world class final.