28 Oct 2017

Deja vu for Wu and Ruusuvuori in Chendgu

News Article

By Max Woodward

Photo: Paul ZimmerEmil Ruusuvuori (FIN)

It will be top versus bottom in the boys’ final at the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu as world No. 1 Yibing Wu takes on the lowest-ranked boy at this year’s event, Emil Ruusuvuori.

Wu, the local hero, booked his place in the title match courtesy of a 63 62 win over Argentina’s Sebastian Baez. Ruusuvuori also downed an Argentinian to reach the final, earning a 62 64 win over Axel Geller.

Ruusuvuori was the first to book his spot in the final, taking down Geller in a clash of the big servers on Saturday morning.

The Finn has been the surprise package of the tournament so far. He defied all expectations to reach the last four and carried on his impressive run of form to take down the No. 2 seed and reach Sunday’s final.

“I am really happy with the way I played today,” he commented. “I felt really good, I was able to return his serves and get to the point more than him.”

Ruusuvuori got off to a blistering start and broke serve in just the third game, before going on to rack up three more break points in Geller’s next service game. The Argentinian’s serve got him out of trouble as he battled back to deuce, hitting a 142mph ace along the way, but could not keep his opponent down.

At the sixth time of asking, Ruusuvuori got his second break of the set before holding to love to seal a 62 opening set.

Geller came out fighting to start the second set and broke serve for a 2-0 lead, sending a crosscourt forehand flying past an onrushing Ruusuvuori, but the Finn recovered and broke back the very next game.

With not much between the two players during the set, the crucial moment came in the ninth game. Serving at 30-40, Geller fended off a break point courtesy of a backhand that clipped the line and drew applause from his opponent, but could not halt the Finn’s surge as he broke later in the game.

Serving for the match, Ruusuvuori was calmness personified. Three booming first serves clocked up three match points. Geller saved the first with a rocket of a forehand, but the Finn did not break stride, and when a Geller forehand drifted long, Ruusuvuori’s spot in the final was sealed.

When asked about who he would like to face in the final, Ruusuvuori replied with a wry smile. “I don’t know, let’s see who it is and go from there.”

Baez had already taken out the second seeded Geller in the round-robin group stage, but was unable to add the top seed to his list of scalps at this event, as Wu proved too strong in front of a vocal crowd.

Wu started well, and earned a break point in the third game. However, the diminutive Argentinian produced a booming serve to save it, and went on to hold. The break did come a few games later, with Baez serving at 3-4. Wu applied the pressure and it told, as his opponent netted a backhand to relinquish a break.

Baez has displayed a never-say-die attitude throughout the tournament so far, and it was on display again as he earned four break points in the next game.

Wu’s serving throughout the day was impressive, and no more did it show than that game. He saved all four break points, three with aces, and went on to hold to clinch the opening set.

“I think the serve is the key today,” he recalled. “I gave lots of pressure to him, and tried to be aggressive with my shots and tried to go more to the net.”

With every game Wu moved closer to the final, the Chinese fans grew more passionate, and he broke to lead 3-2 in the second to a chorus of applause, and when Wu executed a perfect dropshot to clinch a double break, it was all over.

This will be a third meeting in the last two months for Wu and Ruusuvuori. After duelling out an epic in the Junior US Open semifinals, they also met in the group stages here in Chengdu, with Wu emerging victorious on both occasions.

“I feel happy I can play him again,” Wu said on his opponent in the final. “I think it’s going to be a tough match for both of us, hopefully I can win.”

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Marko Miladinovic earned his first win of the week with a 63 61 win over Hsu Yu Hsiou, and will contest the 5-6th place play-off tomorrow.

"I’m very happy,” he said with a grin. “I played a good match. At the beginning I wasn’t feeling so positive because I lost three matches in the group but now I am happy and I will fight tomorrow for 5th place.”

His opponent in the play-off will be Jurij Rodionov, who received a walkover when Trent Bryde was unable to contest their match. Miladinovic and Rodionov also met in the group stages, with Rodionov running out the victor in three close sets.

Despite not recording a match in the group stages, Miladinovic has been enjoying his time in Chengdu. “I’ve never been to such a big tournament,” he exuded. “I’m very happy to be part of this group. Everything is like we are in London [at the ATP Finals], except that we are kids!”

You can follow all of the action on finals day via our live stream and live scores.