Beaten but Ruud takes self-belief from NYC

Casper Ruud failed to claim the US Open trophy on Sunday after losing 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 to Carlos Alcaraz in Flushing Meadows, but the Norwegian says the tournament helped solidify his belief that he will win a Grand Slam one day, as long as he avoids a Spaniard in the final.

Ruud was unable to match Alcaraz’s firepower at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the defeat coming months after falling to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in his decisive Grand Slam opening.

“At Roland Garros (it was) hard for me to believe I could beat Rafa,” Ruud, who climbs to number 2 in the world from seventh place, told reporters.

“Today was not easier, but I believed in it more. I think those two tournaments somehow boosted my confidence to win a Grand Slam.

“I think I hope not to play against a Spanish player if I ever reach another slam final. They know what they are doing in the slam finals. “

Known for his clay court prowess, Ruud had a superb 2022 which saw him collect titles in Gstaad, Geneva and Buenos Aires.

He proved to be just as effective on New York hard courts, beating the thirteenth seeded Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals and the Russian Karen Khachanov in the semifinals.

Ruud said teenager Alcaraz, who also beat him in the Miami Masters final, was “tough”.

“I always thought I was the underdog in some way,” the 23-year-old told reporters.

“But today was more fun for me. I didn’t have to face the biggest idol of my life in the biggest match of my life. It was a little easier for me to believe I could win. “

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