Ruud starts 2023 winning at the United Cup

Casper Ruud picked up where he left off in 2022 in 2023, defeating Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-3, 6-2 in the first men’s singles match of the new year to boost Norway’s United Cup mixed team championship in Brisbane.

Ruud had a successful 2022 rising to No. 2 in the world rankings before finishing the year at No. 3 after reaching the championship match at the ATP final. His start to Australia last season was less memorable: he suffered an ankle injury in training and had to pull out of the Australian Open a day before his first round match.

On Sunday, Ruud had just a few anxious moments before capping off a must-win game for Norway against Brazil. Norway trailed 2–0 when he went on trial against Montiero at Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena; he left the court victorious 72 minutes later, improving his record against Montiero to 3–0.

After a comfortable win in the first set, Ruud went down 2-0 in the second before winning six games in a row to clinch his win.

“It was a must to win, so I felt the pressure maybe a little bit,” said Ruud. “But I was able to come out with a good start and it feels great to start the new year in tennis in Australia.

“I always feel very motivated when I come to play here in Australia. Last year was a bit unfortunate. I couldn’t play at the Australian Open. I sprained my ankle the day before my first round, so I’m really excited to hopefully have a good start to the season here and this is a perfect way for me to start another year on tour. Ruud’s victory only delayed Norway’s eventual defeat in Group E. Laura Pigossi beat Ulrikke Eikeri 6-3, 6-4 later on Sunday to give Brazil a winning 3-1 lead.

Former Wimbledon champion and Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova defeated Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-2 to give the Czech Republic an unassailable 3-0 lead over Germany in a Group C match in Sydney.

The game was closer than the score suggests. Siegemund generated 11 break points – Kvitova saved nine – and Kvitova overcame 10 double faults to tie the score.

Rafael Nadal, who lost his last singles match of 2022 to Cameron Norrie on Saturday, will later play mixed doubles for Spain against Great Britain alongside Paula Badosa on Sunday.

Two singles matches – a men’s and a women’s match – are played on two days each, with a mixed doubles to conclude the five-match encounter on the second day.

The inaugural United Cup has teams from 18 countries competing in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney through January 4. The three city champions and the second best performing nation from the group stage will meet at the Ken Rosewall Arena from January 6-8 to determine the overall winner.

Leave a Comment