The 25-year-old followed up his big upset of Jannik Sinner with a command performance against Casper Ruud.

Rafael Nadal wasn’t able to compete in Monte Carlo, a tournament he’s won a staggering 11 times, in 2024. But the well-heeled patrons in the Principality were still treated to a brilliant clay-court display from one of the Mediterranean Masters’ most decorated champions.

Rafa. Bjorn Borg. Thomas Muster. Ilie Nastase. And now, Stefanos Tsitsipas, who joins those luminaries as a three-time winner of the ATP’s preeminent clay-court kickoff.

The 25-year-old Greek officially did so when he defeated Casper Ruud, 6-1, 6-4 in a largely drama-free final, backing up other impressive victories over Alexander Zverev in the round of 16, and world No. 2 Jannik Sinner in the semifinals.

“Stefanos Tsitsipas is back with a vengeance this week in Monte Carlo,” said Tennis Channel’s Jason Goodall.

“Third time champion, and he has his confidence back,” concurred Paul Annacone.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the fifth player to win Monte Carlo three or more times.

Ruud came into the contest with two wins over Tsitsipas: in their most recent encounter, in February in Los Cabos; and in their only meeting on clay, three years ago in Madrid. But from the onset, it was Tsitsipas who appeared the more confident man. He converted three of six break-point chances in the opening set, and while he afforded Ruud three of his own, the 25-year-old Norwegian couldn’t summon what was needed at these critical junctures.

Trailing 3-1, a short forehand error from Ruud on break point gave Tsitsipas a reprieve, and he double faulted to mercifully end a desultory set.

The world No. 10 earned a break point in the first and third games of the second set, but again was his own worst enemy.

“That is a pedestrian forehand miss from a world-class player,” said Annacone after a Ruud error on a break-point chance at 1-1.

Casper Ruud was 0-8 on break-point chances in Sunday’s final.

All the while, Tsitsipas continued to blast forehands, defend Ruud’s strikes with aplomb (on both players’ best surface) and continuously apply pressure. Ruud did very well to save a Tsitipas break point down 2-3—answering a huge backhand return with an impeccable volley—and hold for 3-all. He then forced Tsitipas to save three more break points (his sixth, seventh and eighth of the match) at 3-3.

But despite Ruud’s best efforts, Tsitsipas won that marathon, 13-minute game—and, not much longer, the match itself.

Ruud, who snapped an 0-11 mark against Top 3 players on Saturday against Novak Djokovic, falls to 10-11 in tour-level finals. He’s 10-4 in 250-level title matches, but 0-7 in 500s (0-1), 1000s (0-2), ATP Finals (0-1) and Grand Slams (0-3).

Tsitsipas will return to the Top 10 tomorrow (at No. 7), and improves his finals record to 11-17. That includes a 3-0 mark in Monte Carlo—the picturesque event whose 2021, 2022 and 2024 champion boasts a similarly picturesque game.

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