Casper Ruud made history two weeks ago by becoming the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour title in Buenos Aires. Now, the 21-year-old is only two wins from lifting a second tour-level trophy.

The second-seeded Ruud defeated seventh-seeded Argentine Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-5 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open. Ruud will face third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas for a spot in the final.

“It was obviously tough… it was a very close match. I was ready for it before going out there… Delbonis is a very good [player] and especially a very good clay-court player,” Ruud said. “I really wanted to win this time.”

Ruud levelled his ATP Head2Head series with the Argentine at 1-1 after losing against the lefty in Sao Paulo three years ago. The Norwegian triumphed in a three-setter in Western & Southern Open qualifying last year, which does not count as a tour-level match. 

The World No. 38 has now defeated two straight lefties after eliminating home favourite Alejandro Tabilo in the second round. He will try to make it three in a row against Ramos-Vinolas.

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“It’s different, definitely, to play three lefties in a row. It’s not something you get to do every tournament, so it’s a little bit different, a new experience. But I think it’s okay,” said Ruud, who began the week with a 3-8 tour-level record against lefties. “In my career I’ve had some problems playing against left-handed players, but I’m getting better and better every time I play them.”

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Ruud’s next opponent, Ramos-Vinolas, beat eighth seed Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.

The Spaniard has enjoyed plenty of success on clay, reaching the final of the 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Seven of the eight ATP Tour championship matches he has reached (2-6) have come on clay.

Ramos-Vinolas only won four more points than his Brazilian opponent, but he saved two of the three break points he faced to advance.

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