The younger Ruud also was the runner-up at the French Open in June against Rafael Nadal.
“In Roland Garros, was hard for me to believe that I could beat Rafa,” Ruud said. “Today was not easier, but I believed it more.”
Both Christian Ruud, a former ATP Tour pro who now coaches his son, and Casper lamented the chances that got away when Alcaraz served trailing 6-5 in the third set.
Ruud would get two chances to take the set in what became a 16-point game, but Alcaraz would erase them both on trips to the net. Ruud then committed four unforced errors in the tiebreaker to help Alcaraz run away with it.
“I should maybe have gone for a little bit more,” Ruud said. “Yeah, you can say that might have been — that was the set that maybe decided the match. It was one set each, very close, and long third set. I played a horrible tiebreak, unfortunately too many mistakes. Sort of couldn’t get those, I guess, set points out of my head.”
There was nothing really to regret in June, given his opponent. Nadal has won the French Open 14 times and gone 112-3 overall.
Ruud never really had a chance, losing 6-3, 6-3, 6-0. But this match — along with the No. 1 ranking if he won — could have been there for the taking.
“He had a better chance and it showed in the match result also, with the set points in the third set,” Christian Ruud said. “And at least then you have a five-setter and yeah, I think that was the key point of the match.”
Alcaraz then broke for a 4-2 lead in the fourth and served too well from there, finishing the match with two aces and a service winner in the final game.
Ruud will move up to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday, but will have to wait to become Norway’s first man to win a Grand Slam title. He is 0-6 against top-10 players in the four biggest tournaments, so will have to be better when he faces the best.
He has one idea that might help.
“I guess I hope I don’t play a Spanish player if I ever reach another Slam final,” he said with a smile. “They know what they’re doing in the Slam finals. Let’s hope for another than a Spanish.”
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