Casper Ruud dodged 14 aces from Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday while honing his own serve to earn a 7-6(4), 6-4 defeat of the Canadian in a winning start at the ATP Finals in Turin.
The Norwegian who played the US Open final pronounced his group victory in just under two hours at the eight-man season wrapup as “my best since the Open.
“The last few months have been a bit of a struggle,” the ATP No. 4 said. “I have to see if I can turn that around.
“I’ve been practising well, but it all needs to happen in matches. Today was a great day for me, Felix (winner of three straight titles last month) has been on a roll.”
Ruud, whose father Christian competed on the Tour in the 1990s, will this week have his two grandmothers in his player box for support.
“My grandmothers are both arriving tomorrow,” he said. “Hopefully they can be a lucky charm.
“They followed my father’s career and now they are following mine.”
Ruud will be hoping to go beyond his semi-final in northern Italy at the event a year ago. The Scandinavian converted the lone break point of the entire afternoon at the Pala Alpitour.
The winner said that to repeat his opening day success “I’ll need my A-game to beat any of the other guys in my group (headed by Rafael Nadal).
“The win was a great start, it was just what I needed. But the next matches will be tough.
“At least I have a win in the bag – but I’ll now try to forget about it. I’m gonna pretend this never happened.
“I won’t count on anything and will just focus on the next two (group) matches.”
He added: “I’m not going to relax but I dont have to stress or rush things either into the next match.”Ruud rolls to opening win in Turin