Casper Ruud had been to plenty of big finals in his career, but always came up one win short—until now, that is.

The Norwegian has captured the biggest title of his career in Barcelona, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the ATP 500-level clay-court event on Sunday, 7-5, 6-3, avenging a 6-1, 6-4 loss to the Greek in the final of Monte Carlo seven days ago.

He was asked afterwards what his plan was for the rematch.

“Well, just to kind of give it to him a little bit more than last week,” he said. “In the final in Monte Carlo I was always on the back foot, too far behind, and he had too much time to control the game.

“A bit of a tricky start today—I got broken right away, not the best start—but I managed to settle in, got the break back, and then clutch time I broke him in the end of the first, which was huge.

“It’s been two long weeks for both of us, and it’s obvious that at some point fatigue is going to kick in," the former No. 2 added. "I think we were both fit enough to play today, it’s not about that, but whoever won the first set today would have a big advantage.”

Speaking of big advantages after winning the first set, Ruud is now an incredible 26-0 this year when he wins the first set.


All 10 of Ruud’s previous career titles came at ATP 250s: Buenos Aires in 2020; Geneva, Bastad, Gstaad, Kitzbuhel and San Diego in 2021; Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad in 2022; and Estoril in 2023.

He had been to seven previous finals above the ATP 250 level before this one—three Grand Slam finals, an ATP Finals final, two Masters 1000 finals (including Monte Carlo last week) and another ATP 500 final—but had finished runner-up every time.

“This has been worth all the wait. All the finals I’ve lost have been tough, disappointing of course, but every time you reach a final it’s nonetheless a good week, so you can’t be too hard on yourself.

“But this one’s been a long time coming, and super happy to do it here in Barcelona in front of a packed stadium today, and on Rafa Nadal Court. It’s special to me as I looked up to him all my childhood and came here myself as a 13-year-old boy to watch him and the others play here, so it's a great feeling.”

Ruud is now 4-1 against fellow Top 10 players this year, and a perfect 3-0 against them on clay.

Ruud is now 4-1 against fellow Top 10 players this year, and a perfect 3-0 against them on clay.


Early on it looked like Tsitsipas would continue his mastery over Ruud from the Monte Carlo final, as he broke in the very first game and stretched the lead out to 3-1. But Ruud broke back for 3-all and eventually snuck out another break to close out the set, then opened up a 4-1 lead in the second set and never looked back.

He finished the match with 19 winners to 15 unforced errors, while Tsitsipas had 17 winners to 25 unforced errors on the day.

Ruud is now 4-1 against Top 10 players this year, and a perfect 3-0 against them on clay with wins over Hubert Hurkacz and Novak Djokovic en route to last week’s Monte Carlo final, and now Tsitsipas in Barcelona (the Greek was ranked just outside the Top 10 last week when Ruud played him in the Monte Carlo final).

Both players will head to the Masters 1000 event in Madrid now.