Nobody likes to face an aging hero on his home turf

Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud slår en forehand mot Søren Hess-Olesen. (Eget foto fra 2017)

If you are an ATP player looking for a win, you don’t want to face an aging hero on his home turf. Unfortunately for Casper Ruud, this happened in Basel this week. With Roger Federer resting on laurels somewhere, it’s up to Stan Wawrinka to carry the white and red flag for a few more years (? The guy is 37, a respectable age even in our age of super old dominating players).

I did not see the match, only the highlights on YouTube. Have a look:

My takeaways:

  • In the first point they trade backhands, until Wawrinka runs around and hits a sharp forehand inside out. Should have been Ruud doing that.
  • In the second point, Wawrinka makes sure Ruud does not get to hit a forehand, and when Wawrinka uses his own, he draws an error from Ruud’s forehand.
  • Ruud gets to hit a few forehands in the next point, but they don’t tip the point in his direction. Wawrinka finishes with a backhand up the line. I am going to miss that when he leaves the game.
  • Wawrinka takes the set with another dominating point from the baseline.
  • At 30-30 deep in the second set, Ruud does the thing that I get the feeling creates problems for him on clay too: Running around his backhand to hit a forehand in the doubles corridor. This is a risky move. If that forehand does not put the opponent under pressure, Ruud is on the back foot. And sure enough, Wawrinka withstands the Ruud forehand, and runs Ruud around before winning the point.

Since reaching the US Open final, Casper Ruud has beaten Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ATP 335), Jack Sock (128) and Nicolas Jarry (111). He has lost to Nishioka (56) and Munar (58), and now Wawrinka (194). Next up is Paris, and later the ATP finals. Here’s hoping for a resurgence in the coming weeks!

Looking at the stats, the Wawrinka match must have been closer than it looks in the clip. Ruud had three break points, but won neither. He had a good first serve percentage and had the better second serve.

(Why is this Norwegian guy writing in English? At a party this weekend, a friend and fanatical fan suggested I should write in English in order to conquer the world or something like that. (Memories are slightly fuzzy.) I have not written English texts of any substance or length since the Clinton presidency, but will write in English for the rest of 2022 just for the fun of it and see if my numbers go through the roof. Please excuse my rusty grammar and spelling. If I run out of steam and/or receive loads of online fury from Norwegian language activists, I will switch to Norwegian and claim the blog was hijacked by forces outside my control.)

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