Tennis: Ruud retains Geneva title, with victory over battling Sousa

Ruud celebrates after defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

GENEVA (AFP) - Defending champion Casper Ruud survived a spirited challenge from Joao Sousa to retain his Geneva Open title in a closely-fought contest on Saturday (May 21), a day before the French Open begins.

The Norwegian world number eight won 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 7-6 (7/1) in a duel that lasted just over three hours in scorching temperatures at the Parc des Eaux-Vives.

Portuguese world number 79 Sousa broke to lead 3-2 in the deciding set but Ruud, on the brink, broke back for 5-5. Sousa saved two championship points to force a tie-break but once there, Ruud raced away to claim the title.

The players and the crowd alike were made to sweat as temperatures on the 3,000-capacity centre court neared 30 degrees Celsius.

It was Ruud's eighth ATP tour title and he becomes the fifth player to win multiple tour-level titles in 2022.

Ruud has never lost on the Geneva clay. The 28-man tournament serves as a timely tune-up for Paris and the second Grand Slam of the year.

The 23-year-old went into the tournament on a roll, having reached the semis in Rome last week, and having won Buenos Aires in February.

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