– I’m happy to be a part of your story

(Novak Djokovic – Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3) World’s Novak Djokovic (34) led 4-0 before Casper Ruud (23) won his first game – and the Serbian finally claimed his number 1,000 professional winner.

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– Congratulations on your win number 1000. I’m glad I could be a part of your story, was Ruud’s message to Djokovic jubilee online when Serbia had won the match.

However, a bad start for Ruud. Ruud’s first two serve games were broken and the first set was almost over before it started. The Norwegian rose a few notches further in the set, but it was too little and too late.

Djokovic led by a full score of 4-0 in the opening set. Despite Djokovic’s hard serve being breached in the fourth game, the Serb eventually won under control with his own serve 6-4 in the first set.

– Incredible 4-0 lead, so I lowered myself a bit and he took advantage of that to come back in the first set. “I always felt that I had a chance in his serve play in the other set,” Djokovic told the organisers.

The second set was much smoother and both kept their first three service games, before Ruud came under tremendous pressure.

She defended herself through one, two and three breakballs in her fourth serve game, but was eventually hurled into the sink by the world number one – thus gaining the advantage midway through the second set.

He continued to play and won after two sets.

The win was Djokovic’s 1000th in his professional career – a minuscule achievement against the Norwegian.

– I’ve seen Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal) celebrate this achievement, so I wanted to achieve it myself. “I feel blessed and privileged to now have 1000,” said Djokovic.

The Serb will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

PRAISE: Casper Ruud congratulates boss Novak Djokovic on the net after Serbia’s number 1000 professional winner. As in 2020, Ruud was knocked out by the world number one in the semifinals of the ATP Masters tournament in Rome.

As in 2020, Ruud earned world number one Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Masters tournament in Rome.

Nonetheless: a semi-final spot is a clear improvement from Ruud’s results on the gravel so far this season (see fact box).

Just in time for the Roland Garros (French Open) Grand Slam tournament, which kicks off in Paris on 22 May.

PS! Before Roland Garros, this was the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva, which appeared on VG + Sport starting Tuesday 17th May. Casper Ruud is with – and will defend the title.

Henrietta Fairbank

"Amateur analyst. Zombie geek. Hardcore troublemaker. Internet expert. Incurable twitter fanatic."

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