French Open: Casper Ruud advances to round four

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Casper Ruud | AFP

Paris: Norway tennis star Casper Ruud continued making progress at the ongoing French Open, defeating China's Zhang Zhizhen on Saturday.

Ruud, the fourth seed advanced to round four with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 win over Zhang after being down by a set in a two-hour 34-minute clash.

He used his big forehand to successfully command in the lively conditions on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, earning his 14th clay-court victory of the season.

"It was tough. It was a bit frustrating in the beginning. I did not hit as well as I would have hoped. I did not really find any hole in his game, but luckily at 5-4 in the second set, he played some sloppy shots and I got the break. That gave me confidence and I started playing better and better in the third and fourth [sets]. The French crowd was helping me a lot," said Ruud as quoted by ATP.

Ruud arrived in Paris after a rather quiet season. The 24-year-old failed to win consecutive tour-level matches in 10 of the 12 events he competed in, although he did win the trophy in Estoril and got to the semi-finals in Rome.

But the 10-time tour-level champion has been at his finest in Paris, where his victory against Zhang moved him up to 13th in the ATP Live Race To Turin. Ruud, who is 15-4 at Roland Garros, is attempting to make his third consecutive participation at the ATP Finals.

Earlier on Saturday, Sebastian Ofner defeated Fabio Fognini by 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4. Ofner surpassed his previous best major run to the third round of Wimbledon in 2017 and climbed to No. 80 in the ATP Live Rankings, a 38-spot improvement from the previous week.

Also, Juan Pablo Varillas continued his great run at the competition, as he shocked 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2 in the third round to become the first Peru player to reach French Open round 4 in 29 years since Jaime Yzaga who did it back in 1994.

The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz also made it to round fourth of the tournament with a thumping win over Denis Shapovalov, by 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a two-hour, 12-minute match.

The Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas also made it to the round four. The fifth-seed downed Diego Schwartzman by 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic on Friday produced a masterclass performance on the Court Philippe-Chatrier to overcome a fierce challenge from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to seal a 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-2 third-round victory in the ongoing French Open 2023.


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