Sports

Casper Ruud qualifies for final after climate protestor stops play


Casper Ruud has become the first Norwegian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final by eliminating 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 at Roland Garros.

The eighth-seeded Ruud is 23 and never had been past the fourth round at any major tournament until now.

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His father, Christian, was a professional tennis player from 1991 to 2001.

Ruud has shown that he can play well on clay, with tour highs of seven titles and 66 match wins on the surface since the start of 2020.

He now faces the toughest test there ever has been on clay, going up against 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday. Ruud has trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Spain and refers to the 36-year-old Spaniard as his idol.

Ruud returned Cilic’s big serve well enough to break him five times and even hit more aces, 16-10. Cilic had 33 aces in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

The semi-final was interrupted for more than 10 minutes in the third set by a climate activist who attached herself to the net and knelt on the court.

A climate activist wearing a T-shirt with the message “We have 1028 days left” interrupted the match by attaching herself to the net and kneeling on the court.

Play was delayed for more than 10 minutes during a game with Ruud serving in the third set while leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-1, 15-all.

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo looked on from near the entrance to the court and both players left while the protester was carried away by four security guards.

Eventually, Ruud and Cilic returned and were given three minutes to warm up before resuming their semi-final.

During the 2013 men’s final, a topless man carrying a fiery flare jumped onto the court. In the 2009 final, a man went up to Roger Federer and tried to put a hat on his head. In the 2003 final, a male streaker hurdled the net.

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