Ruud in third successive final despite Kyrgios 'steal' points blast

Kitzbühel (Austria) (AFP) –


Norway's Casper Ruud reached his third ATP final in three weeks on Friday, a day after Australian rival Nick Kyrgios accused him of "stealing points".

Ruud has claimed titles at Bastad and Gstaad over the last two weekends as the European clay court swing winds down to a low-key finish.

On Saturday, the world number 14 will face Spain's number 97 Pedro Martinez for the Kitzbuhel title after seeing off 91st-ranked Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) in Friday's semi-finals.

In the Bastad final, Ruud defeated Federico Coria, now ranked 64, and then saw off 133rd Hugo Gaston in Gstaad.

"Hahahaha this is classic. @CasperRuud98 you are a good player. But we all know you stealing points through those tournaments haha," tweeted Kyrgios as the pair crossed swords once again.

Ruud has sparked Kyrgios's putdown by responding to an online ATP request to send questions to the Australian who is currently preparing for the Washington hard court event.

"What's his favourite clay court tournament?" wrote 22-year-old Ruud.

Ruud and Kyrgios have had a bitter rivalry since the Australian was disqualified from a match between the two in Rome in 2019.

Ruud said Kyrgios was "totally crazy" and "an idiot" for throwing a chair onto the court.

The Australian fired back by describing the Norwegian's tennis as "boring" and that he'd "rather watch paint dry" than see his rival in action.

On Saturday, Ruud will attempt to become the first man since Andy Murray in 2011 to win three titles in as many weeks.