A three-set match in Argentina featuring thost country hero Diego Schwartzman ultimately ended in disappointment for the crowd as Norwegian Casper Ruud claimed his first title of the season.
Ruud got off to a fast start, breaking Schwartzman early. His heavy forehand and backhand pushed Schwartzman behind the baseline and keeping him on the defense. Schwartzman plays better offensively, and brings heavy strokes for his small stature, but as a defender he had trouble all match keeping up with the relentless power of the Norwegian.
But Schwartzman found his footing as the first set progressed, breaking Ruud to draw even, and then again at the end to take the set. He had to get creative, working the angles to compensate for Ruud’s powerful baseline groundstrokes, and throwing in drop shots from time to time. Baseline rallies favored Ruud for most of the match, particularly off his forehand wing. Schwartzman tried to attack the backhand at times, but Ruud has a very competent backhand, and backhand rallies are not how Schwartzman wins points.
Casper Ruud Takes Control
The second set belonged to Ruud, as he broke Schwartzman twice and shifted the momentum the Argentinian had built, winning the last four games of the set. The streak continued in the third, as Ruud broke Schwartzman again early. The unforced errors began to pile up for the Argentine, and it looked as if Ruud was going to cruise to another break and an easy third set when he earned three break points on Schwartzman’s serve. But the sixth game suddenly became tightly contested, as Schwartzman found his first serve and his form. He saved a total of four break points during the game, and won on his second game point, as the Argentinian crowd began to feel that a victory for their countryman was within reach.
However, it was not to be, as Ruud served well at 5-2 to close out the match. The title is the second in Buenos Aires for Ruud, and a good restart to the season, after having withdrawn at the start of the Australian Open with an injury. A win for Schwartzman would have been a repeat, as he was last year’s champion, and would have been very encouraging amidst a mixed start to 2022. In the end, the #1 seed held, though a loss for Schwartzman to a Top 10 player will likely not halt the momentum he built throughout the tournament.
Main Photo from Getty.