Casper Ruud dismissed any stressful fears and put his game into auto-mode for a 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over Tomas Martin Etcheverry at the Barcelona Open to reach his fourth final of the season.

The sixth-ranked Norwegian who has lost 2024 title matches in  Los Cabos, Acapulco and Monte Carlo a week ago, increased his lead in the season match-win stakes to 28 – three ahead of Jannik Sinner.

Ruud will wait for a Sunday opponent as Stefanos Tsitsipas – winner over Ruud six days ago in Monte Carlo – plays Dusan Lajovic in the second Spanish semi–final.

Ruud said he didn’t want to over-think his match, a problem in the past in big matches.

“I play my best when I stay cool and don’t think too much,” he said. “I thought of this one as a tough practice match.

“I’ll try to play the final not thinking too much about what is at stake. I’m not saying I’ll turn my brain off, but…”

Ruud slogged through a 73-minute opening set against his Argentine opponent and made life more difficult as he failed to capitalise on a lead of 4-2, 40-15 in a set which eventually went to a tiebreaker.

The pair traded breaks to start the second set, with the Scandinavian pulling ahead as he broke for 3-2 and earned victory in his second of three match points after nearly two hours.

“He could have won the first set, it was a bit fortunate for me today. I”m happy with my level – it was a high-quality match, my best this week in Barcelona.

“Hopefully I can top it off tomorrow with an even better one.

“I’m sure I’ll dream of the final tonight but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”

Main photo:- Casper Ruud winning today’s semi-final in Barcelona – by