Casper Ruud dug deep to break his Wimbledon duck and clinch his 150th tour-level win on Monday, when the third seed edged Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a hard-fought first-round encounter in London.
The Norwegian kept his composure in a match that was twice interrupted by rain on Court 12 to complete a 7-6(1), 7-6(9), 6-2 victory, his first win at the grass-court major on his third appearance.
Ruud dominated the tie-break after a tight opening set before also prevailing in far more dramatic circumstances at the same stage in the second set. He rallied from 2/6 down to clinch a topsy-turvy tie-break in which he saved five set points. It proved a decisive moment in the two-hour, 44-minute contest, as the Norwegian broke twice in the third set to ease to victory.
“I sort of should have won the second set before, because I was serving for it twice, and then got broken both times,” said Ruud in his post-match press conference. “It happens fast on grass. Suddenly you’re down 0/30, and then a couple of points here and there, it can happen.
“Then everything turned in his favour, then again it turned back in my favour. Being down 6/2, coming back and winning 11/9, I think with some crazy rallies in there. It’s obviously a game of small margins. In that tie-break they were on my side luckily, so I think that also helped me to win the match.”
The 23-year-old Ruud has enjoyed a ground-breaking 2022 season. He reached a maiden ATP Masters 1000 final at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, before contesting his first Grand Slam championship match against Rafael Nadal on the clay at Roland Garros. He also increased his tour-level title tally to eight with triumphs in Buenos Aires in February and Geneva in May.
Despite opening his grass season with defeat to British wild card Ryan Peniston at The Queen’s Club two weeks ago, Ruud will hope his solid performance against Ramos-Vinolas is a sign his high-powered game can adapt well to the surface. He fired 44 winners against the Spaniard on Monday, including 14 aces, to cut his deficit in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series to 2-3.
“I was feeling surprisingly [good], to be honest,” said Ruud. “I haven’t played much on grass this year, because I went for some holidays after Queen’s and before coming to Wimbledon. I had four days to get ready, so I was a little interested to see how I was going to play.
“But I felt good. I mean, I’m here at Wimbledon. There is something very special with these courts. Any time you get to play on a match court it’s a great feeling. I was playing well and [I am] very happy with the level I was able to show today.”
Ruud’s second-round opponent at SW19 will be Ugo Humbert, after the Frenchman rallied to a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph against Tomas Martin Etcheverry.