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Ruud Stuns World No. 1 Djokovic to Reach Monte-Carlo Final

Casper Ruud toppled top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to reach his maiden Monte-Carlo final and become the first Norwegian to defeat a reigning world No. 1. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Winless in 11 prior sets against Novak Djokovic,Casper Ruud felt futility of mythic proportions—and a world of hurt—against world No. 1.

Ruud was pure Sisyphus perpetually pushing the stone up the mountain only to see Djokovic roll right back down on him.

Today, a resolute Ruud rocked Djokovic, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, to roll into his maiden Monte-Carlo final and a place in history scoring the biggest win of his career.

Two-time champion Djokovic made a fierce push rallying from 1-4 down in the decisive set to level.

Serving at 4-5, Djokovic saved two match points only to double-fault on match No. 3 giving Ruud an assist in his major milestone.

It is Ruud’s first win over a world No. 1 player in four attempts as he becomes the first Norwegian to defeat a reigning world No. 1.

Ruud chalked up the match-point miss to the power of prayer.

“When he missed the first serve, I was thinking he saved so many break points in crazy ways,” Ruud said. “With a huge second serve or something like this.

“I just kind of prayed: Just one time let it be a double fault or something. I don’t know. Something or someone above listened. Unfortunately, it’s tough to end a match with a double fault but for me it was nice to see that ball sail long.”

Though Ruud was 0-11 lifetime vs. Top-3 players, including a dismal 0-25 in sets played, he did not flinch when his lead dissipated today, beat Djokovic in a couple of crucial backhand exchanges in the final set and hit some deep returns in the last game to rattle out errors.

It all adds up to Ruud’s second trip to a Masters 1000 final following his 2022 Miami Open final loss to Carlos Alcaraz.

The 10th-ranked Ruud will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final. Ruud has won two of three meetings vs. Tsitsipas with all three matches decided in straight sets.

Tsitsipas handed Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner his second loss in 25 matches this season with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.

Two-time champion Tsitsipas benefited from a no-call on his own double fault in the final set—the serve was wide but neither the linesperson nor chair umpire Aurelie Tourte called it. Had the ball been correctly called a double fault Sinner would have been up a double break. Instead, Tsitsipas won five of the last six games to beat the world No. 2 for the sixth time in nine meetings.

Afterward, Djokovic said Ruud’s relentless consistency—and his own sloppy first and last games of the match—were kesy to his demise.

“Of course I’m disappointed, you know, to lose a match like this. Was close one,” Djokovic said. “Congratulations to Casper. He played really good, especially in the beginning of the first and third, as well.

“I had my chances, but yeah, last game was not great. Unforced errors and just he was solid I think until the last shot and deserved to win. My game was kind of up and down.

“I mean, the positive thing is that I kind of managed to come back after losing the first set and really find the strength in the game. So there are positives to take away from this tournament, for sure, but of course disappointed with the loss.”