WATCH: Casper Ruud defeats Taylor Fritz to improve to 2-0 in the 2022 ATP Finals round-robin stage.

Casper Ruud first qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals a year ago, marking a breakthrough season highlighted by three straight tournament titles.

Now back in Turin and also back in the semifinals for a second straight time, he's showing that he belongs at the top of the game.

"To be able to make the Finals two years in a row means a lot, because I think it proves to yourself that you have the level to do it more than just one time," third seed Ruud told press as he started the elite eight-player event.

"I have had more good moments than difficult moments this year, so I have to be happy about that."

In addition to winning another three clay-court ATP 250 events in 2022, Ruud was a finalist at three big events—the French Open, the US Open, and the Miami Open—and reached a career-high No. 2 ranking.


Ruud is back in Turin and also back in the Nitto ATP Finals semifinals for a second straight time.

Ruud is back in Turin and also back in the Nitto ATP Finals semifinals for a second straight time.

The climb also reflects the increasing hard-court success of the 23-year-old from Norway, who had chafed as suggestions grew that he was a clay-court specialist. He's done it by moving to a more offensive mentality while still playing his regular game.

"When it comes to the improvements on hard court, I think I have done certain things in my game that has helped me,” he said. “I'm able to hit a little bit flatter. I'm able to move better. I can defend better on the surface… I'm also serving and returning better.

"I'm happy to say things have improved, but there are still many more things I can improve compared to the best hard court players or hard court indoor players in the world.

"I'm just not thinking too much about that I have to change many things from clay to hard court."


But something that Ruud says still needs improvement is his playing schedule, with the No. 4 acknowledging that more wins requires playing fewer tournaments. He had won just one match in three events coming into the ATP Finals.

"It was a little bit too hectic, my schedule," said Ruud. "In Asia, I felt quite heavy physically. Every day felt a little more than the day before to get going."

Ruud next plays No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal as he aims to finish 3-0 in his round-robin group.