Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Casper Ruud to win the Monte Carlo Masters

STEFANOS Tsitsipas completed his hat-trick of Monte Carlo Masters titles with a 6-1 6-4 final triumph over Casper Ruud.

The 25-year-old has now been crowned a Monte Carlo champion three times in the last four years after defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets to sit amongst tennis royalty.

Tsitsipas has now joined the exclusive list of players to win three or more titles at Monte Carlo, featuring the likes of Rafael Nadal, Thomas Muster, Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase.

The 25-year-old forged a comfortable lead against Ruud, taking the first set of the final after just 36 minutes.

Ruud battled hard in a nervy second set, but it was Tsitsipas who upped the gears at 4-4 and later prevailed to win his third Monte Carlo Masters title in four years.

Following the final victory, Tsitsipas now rises to seventh in the world rankings, and he outpoured his emotions by sinking to the deck of the clay court in jubilation.

“I am extremely grateful to my friends, family and everyone behind this journey.

To win three [titles] is just unbelievable — it was a nerve-wracking game but I am extremely happy.”

It was a tricky tournament full of surprises for Tsitsipas that tested his resolve and mindset, after being pitted against top-10 players Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner along the way to the final.

Tsitsipas caused all sorts of problems for Ruud, countering the Norwegian’s tactics of playing deep from the court by dominating play with his forehand shots.

The Greek earnt a double break inside the first set against Ruud, who struggled to score consecutive points and failed to recover.

Ruud piled the pressure on Tsitsipas in a tense seventh game of the second set which lasted 13 minutes, but the Norwegian was unable to capitalise against a relieved Tsitsipas, who survived three break points.

Arguably playing the best tennis of his career, Tsitsipas proved too strong for the fellow 25-year-old, saving all eight break points he faced while converting four of his own eight break point opportunities to push on and achieve the special Monte Carlo Masters title.

Both players will compete in the Barcelona Open which starts next week, where current reigning champions Carlos Alcaraz has been forced to withdraw from the competition with a forearm injury, while Rafael Nadal looks set for a return.