Casper Ruud beats Taylor Fritz to qualify for ATP Finals semis as group winner and send Rafael Nadal out

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Casper Ruud qualified for the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals for the second year in a row after beating Taylor Fritz in three sets.

Ruud prevailed 6-3 4-6 7-6(6) to secure his 50th win of the season and win the Green Group.

He will face the runner-up from the Red Group on Saturday, while Fritz will meet Felix Auger-Aliassime in a winner-takes-all clash on Thursday.

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Ruud winning just a set meant Rafael Nadal was eliminated from the tournament following two straight defeats, and Carlos Alcaraz has been confirmed as the youngest-ever year-end No. 1.

“Only a couple of points decide a match like this and fortunately they went my way at the end,” said Ruud, who made the finals of the French Open and US Open this year.

“I was so happy to see that last forehand go long and book my ticket for the semi-finals.”

Ruud, who beat Auger-Aliassime in his opening match, made a dream start, breaking in the second game after some wayward shots from Fritz.

Ruud fired a good backhand down the line to secure a love hold for a 3-0 lead.

The world No. 4 continued to serve well and closed out the set with another solid hold.

Fritz stepped it up at the start of the second set and passed up two break points in a seven-minute game.

Ruud bounced back with successive love holds, either side of Fritz doing the same.

But it was the American who made inroads at a crucial time, getting to deuce in the 10th game of the set and breaking when Ruud missed a forehand.

Ruud had the first opportunity to break in the third set but Fritz saved with a brilliant diving volley.

Fritz also showed off his speed and skills at the net to win a fantastic point in the fourth game.

Fritz then got into a hole at 0-30 down on his serve but Ruud couldn’t take advantage, skewing a forehand wide and then watching a smash bounce over his head.

Four successive love holds followed before a tie-break, which Ruud quickly took control of as he moved 5-1 ahead.

Fritz managed to save two match points but Ruud got another after a fortunate net cord and this time closed out the win.

Novak Djokovic faces Andrey Rublev on Wednesday and Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Daniil Medvedev.

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