Monte-Carlo: Fourth-seeded Casper Ruud advanced here on Wednesday with a 7-5, 7-6(1) win over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters, the first clay-court Masters' event of the season.
The Norwegian had to save one set point when trailing 5-4 in the second set and failed to serve for the match at 6-5, while being dominant in the tiebreak to wrap up his victory in two hours and 15 minutes, reports Xinhua.
"It is never easy to start at a new tournament and against a player I have lost to before," said Ruud, who had lost three of four previous head-to-head meetings with the world No. 31, as the most recent one came at the Miami Masters last month.
"I was a bit sloppy and didn't take my chances. Sometimes it is a little tricky playing someone you recently lost to, like 'Not again', but in this case, I was a bit happy because I felt like some unfinished business from the Miami match," the 24-year-old added.
The 2022 Roland Garros finalist, who is still striving for his maiden ATP Masters title, will play Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in the round of 16 as the latter stunned Australia's 14th seed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-2 to advance.
Playing his second match in as many days, Germany's Alexander Zverev was not affected by the compact schedule as the 13th seed knocked out Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 to secure a place in the last 16.
Italy's Jannik Sinner, seeded seventh, breezed to the third round after his opponent Diego Schwartzman of Argentina was forced to retire due to a shoulder injury at 6-0, 3-1.
"I could tell from the beginning he was struggling a lot," Sinner said. "On the left side with the pain. I wish him the best and hopefully, it is nothing serious."
The 21-year-old will next take on 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.