A Ruud Awakening For Monteiro

Rio Open, Brazil

[85] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) vs. [208] Casper Ruud (NOR)

The 18-year-old wild card is already showing his mental fortitude.  In the first round Ruud took out the veteran clay court Brazilian player, Rogerio Dutra Silva.  Then he took out the Spaniard, Roberto Carballes Baena, to get to the quarterfinals. I could sense he was a little uncomfortable in the first match but he fought through those nerves quite nicely and did not let them hamper him, meanwhile it was the veteran Dutra Silva who fell apart at the occasion.  What does this kid have that keeps him going?  He has demonstrated that he can make quick mental adjustments; he is young and physically fit; and he has a high tennis IQ.  Tonight he took out the player that defeated Thomaz Bellucci (who had defeated the number one seed, Kei Nishikori) and won in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(2).


Now the real test begins.  How will Ruud handle the moment of playing in his first ATP World Tour 500 semifinal match and against an accomplished opponent like [24] Pablo Carreno Busta?  He may start out nervous, but I think he will fight through the nerves again.  A concern may be that he is unable to handle the pace of shots from Carreno Busta.  I am curious to see how he responds now that everyone is talking about him.  It’s easy to stay relaxed when you are flying under the radar; however, once the burden of expectations becomes a factor, many players have folded in response. Let’s not forget that Carreno Busta will also be feeling some pressure.  He is the experienced and much higher ranked player and expected to win.  We have seen him struggle under this burden before; thus, it may not be as easy a victory as many predict.


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