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Tsitsipas Cruises Past Pouille In Madrid Opener

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Tsitsipas Cruises Past Pouille In Madrid Opener

Greek seeks repeat of run to 2019 Madrid final

Stefanos Tsitsipas showed why he is one of the men to beat on the European clay with an assured start to his Mutua Madrid Open campaign on Wednesday evening. The Greek improved to 8-1 on the surface this season with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over French wild card Lucas Pouille. With the win, he became the first man to record 25 ATP Tour match wins on the year.

“It was good magic, a fair amount of magic dust,” Tsitsipas said of his victory at the Caja Magica. “A great start at the beginning of this tournament.”

The fourth seed faced just one break point on the night, when he surrendered serve in between a pair of breaks in an eventful middle period of the opening set. He left no doubt in set two, following an early break with a love hold to open up a decisive advantage.

Outside of the game in which Pouille broke at love, Tsitsipas dominated on serve. He won 94 per cent (31/33) of his first deliveries, including seven aces, with the last one coming on match point.

Tsitsipas also owned the Balance of Power battle on Manolo Santana Stadium, playing 30% of his shots in attack compared to 22% for his opponent. (Learn more about Balance of Power.)

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Pouille, who broke into the Top 10 in 2018, entered the match in good form after a straight-sets win over Karen Khachanov. But Tsitsipas proved to be on a different level in the one-hour, eight-minute contest. The World No. 174 Frenchman was seeking to equal the best win of his career by ATP Ranking against the World No. 5.

Tsitsipas, who is 31-6 on clay since the start of 2021 with three titles in five finals, advances to face Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16. The Bulgarian was a 6-0, 6-3 winner over Diego Schwartzman earlier on Wednesday.

Speaking about that impeccable clay-court record, Tsitsipas explained that he prefers to keep his focus on the present: “I don’t really think about this stuff, to be honest with you,” he said.

“I’ve had good runs in the past. I’ve played well on this surface but every single day is a different challenge. Everyone wants to go out there and play the best they can against me, so I’m just going to try to play consistently as much as I can.”

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Koolhof/Skupski Oust Alcaraz/Lopez In Lopez's Final Match

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Koolhof/Skupski Oust Alcaraz/Lopez In Lopez’s Final Match

Spaniard receives high praise from Nadal

Spanish doubles star Marc Lopez played the final match of his storied career on Wednesday in front of his home fans at the Caja Magica.

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who lead the ATP Doubles Team Rankings, defeated Lopez and countryman Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 to reach the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open. The Dutch-British tandem is 25-7 on the season and chasing a fourth title of 2022.

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a> and <a href=''>Marc Lopez</a> fell short in a Match Tie-break on Wednesday in Madrid against <a href=''>Wesley Koolhof</a> and <a href=''>Neal Skupski</a>.
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Koolhof and Skupski will next play Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic, who upset fourth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 7-6(3), 10-6. 

Lopez finishes his career with 14 tour-level doubles titles and a 310-245 record. The 39-year-old earlier this year became a member of close friend Rafal Nadal’s coaching team. Nadal had high praise for Lopez on Wednesday.

“We know Marc has a unique talent. This is a reality, and he has worked for it,” Nadal said. “All the merit to him, all the merit to what has happened to him for different reasons. First of all because he’s a very good person, above anything else.

“It’s always good that good things happen to good people. He’s a good person. In that regard, I think that he has achieved things that no other people had achieved in doubles in this country.”

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In other doubles action, Miami champions Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner ousted fellow singles stars Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4. They will next face top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury or two-time Roland Garros titlists Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

Jamie Murray and Michael Venus also advanced to the last eight with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Cameron Norrie and Tommy Paul. Murray typically partners Bruno Soares and Venus plays alongside Tim Puetz.

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Sinner Captures 100th Win, Advances In Madrid

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Sinner Captures 100th Win, Advances In Madrid

#NextGenATP Italian Musetti defeats Korda

Italian Jannik Sinner earned his 100th tour-level win Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, downing Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-1 to reach the third round.

The 20-year-old claimed his maiden tour-level victory in April 2019, defeating Mate Valkusz in Budapest. Since then, he has captured the 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals crown, five ATP Tour titles and cracked the Top 10.

It has been a remarkable rise for the World No. 12, who moved past de Minaur in 74 minutes on Arantxa Sanchez Stadium.

“I have gone my own way. I remember the first win and now I am here at 100 wins. I hope for more as I am working for that and I just love to play tennis,” Sinner told “Every match you win is a great moment.

“When you win a tournament, it is very special. The first tournament I won in Sofia was very special. Also Next Gen and in Washington, winning an ATP 500 was special. There are also specific matches that are very special and I can be proud of myself. But I will work harder every day.”

The 10th seed now leads the 23-year-old de Minaur 4-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and has improved to 20-5 on the season. He will next play Rotterdam champ Felix Auger-Aliassime or Chilean Cristian Garin.

Earlier this year, Sinner advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, Dubai, Miami and Monte Carlo.


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In a battle between two 2021 Intesa Next Gen ATP Finals competitors, Lorenzo Musetti moved past Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-3 to ensure it was a strong day for Italy.

The 20-year-old, who is making his debut in Madrid, broke the American five times to advance after one hour and 36 minutes. Musetti now leads Korda 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, having also defeated the 21-year-old en route to the semi-finals on clay in Lyon last year.

<a href=''>Lorenzo Musetti</a>
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

The qualifier will next meet World No. 3 Alexander Zverev, who is the reigning Madrid champion.

Musetti has improved to 8-3 on the season on clay after also reaching the last 16 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters last month. The World No. 63 defeated Top 10 star Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round in the Principality for the biggest win of his year by ATP Ranking.

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Goffin: ‘I Wondered If I Would Ever Be The Same Again’

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Goffin: ‘I Wondered If I Would Ever Be The Same Again’

Former World No. 7 suffered a knee injury last season

The road back from injury in professional sport can be a long, tiring and frustrating journey. Just ask former World No. 7 David Goffin.

The past 12 months have been the toughest the Belgian has faced since he made his ATP Tour debut in 2011 after he was forced to end his 2021 season in August due to a knee injury.

Last month Goffin returned to the winners’ circle in Marrakech, capturing his sixth tour-level title at the ATP 250 clay-court event. It was a major moment for the 31-year-old, who had doubted his future just weeks earlier.

“Winning Marrakech meant a lot. I have had tough moments for the past year,” Goffin told “First with my knee. I had to end my season in August and then the beginning of this year I was struggling with my game. My knee troubled me in Sydney, I had to pull out of my match against [Andy] Murray. There were a lot of things in my head. ‘Would my knee ever be the same? Is it affecting my footwork? Am I slower?’ I wondered if I would ever be the same again.

“Every day you have different feelings in your head. One day you have a great session and you are feeling good and then the next day you feel tired and are not feeling the ball well. You think you are slow. One day you panic and then you feel strong and feel you will be back soon. It takes time and you have to trust the process and that was the hardest part. You have to believe in your team.”

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When Goffin, who was out from August 2021 – January 2022, arrived in Marrakech at the start of April, he was No. 74 in the ATP Rankings. It was his lowest position since he was World No. 78 in July 2014.

Since defeating Slovakian Alex Molcan in the final, the Belgian has continued to flourish. He advanced to the third round at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and has come through qualifying at the Mutua Madrid Open this week, with World No. 4 Rafael Nadal awaiting in the third round.

Goffin has felt his upturn in form coming since he left Australia in January.

“After Sydney I began to feel more confident in practice and at the gym sessions and I was like ‘OK, I am feeling great’,” Goffin said. “Then I started to play some good tennis and the confidence came back, match after match.

“Then the clay arrived and every year when the clay swing arrives, it is always a good and important period for me. In Marrakech, I won one battle and then another and then the confidence grows. Winning a title meant a lot after that tough period.”

The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals finalist revealed that a crucial factor behind his strong results has been regaining trust in his body, which had been wiped away in 2021.

“When I was playing in Australia, I didn’t dare go on my knee,” Goffin revealed. “Then your groundstrokes are not the same and you worry if it is you or the knee. Then when you commit more the groundstrokes are better, you move better and then you are like ‘Yes, it was my knee’. Then you get confidence that you are not done, and it will get better.”

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While his time away from competitive action was frustrating, Goffin enjoyed a life-changing moment that understandably helped boost his spirits.

“I had time to get married,” Goffin said, beaming with a smile. “I had a honeymoon and time to travel a little bit. It was good to have time to do things you may not normally have time for. Mentally the pause was good for my head.”

Throughout his career, Goffin has produced some of his best tennis on clay, advancing to the semi-finals in Monte Carlo in 2016 and the last eight at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid in 2017 and in Rome in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

It is a period of the season the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals finalist relishes as he reflects on the different tournament stops on the ATP Tour.

“Marrakech was the first time I played and I won, so it will be a good tournament for the rest of my career,” Goffin said. “Monaco is where I live, so it is really nice to play matches there. The centre court in Monte Carlo with the sea behind is one of the most beautiful courts.

“Madrid is quite special. It is the first time I have played qualifying in about 10 years I think. It is different because of the altitude and the courts are really fast. It can also be completely indoor on three courts when it is raining, so it is a little bit different. “

With confidence restored and Goffin back inside the Top 60, he is looking to put his injury woes firmly in the back mirror and drive on to more success in the upcoming period.

“When I started the season I wanted to be ready for the clay and grass. It is the best period for me,” Goffin said. “From April to July that was the main goal to be ready and I am. I am feeling fit and have won matches. I will now try and stay fit. It is good I have had a lot of matches and the confidence is growing.”

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Nadal: 'It's Been A Rollercoaster'

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Nadal: ‘It’s Been A Rollercoaster’

Spaniard made winning return to the ATP Tour Wednesday in Madrid

Rafael Nadal revealed that he was delighted with his opening-round win against Miomir Kecmanovic following his return to the ATP Tour. However, he once again stressed the need for patience as he looks to build up his fitness at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Spaniard overcame the Serbian 6-1, 7-6(4) on Manolo Santana Stadium in his first match since he suffered a rib injury in March.

“I leave the match very, very happy,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference. “You have to be sincere with yourself whenever you can. You have to be truthful to yourself. My preparation has not existed. You cannot expect great things at the beginning, because before coming here, first day training was last Thursday. I have trained very, very little.

“I had trained one day, and all training has had some up-and-downs. It’s been a rollercoaster. I have had better days, worse days. It’s logical. I think that yesterday I started to feel a little bit better, and today also in the pre warmup I was feeling well. I think that in general I have played a good match.”

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The World No. 4 has performed well when returning from injury setbacks in recent years, with his triumph at the Australian Open in January a perfect example. Nadal missed the second half of 2021 with a foot injury, but made a winning return in Australia, clinching the Melbourne Summer Set title before he earned a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam crown at the Aussie Open.

The 35-year-old feels that his second-round win in Madrid is a crucial step in the right direction as he aims to build momentum once again.

“Today I was able to play one hour [and] 55 minutes against an opponent that was playing really well in these past months, so [it is] a really good victory,” Nadal said. “A lot of value to it. One hour [and] 55 minutes on court helps me a lot to reach my final goal, which is to recover my previous health and previous fitness. I’m very excited about it.

“If you come back and if you win the first matches, then you’re able to get your rhythm back again. Whereas if you come back and you lose and you lose, you end up in a circle of losing that you don’t get the rhythm of matches. So the first matches are key. They have a really big value, and for me today’s victory is really important for that reason.”

Nadal will be aiming to win his sixth title in Madrid this week and next faces Belgian David Goffin. The 91-time tour-level champion is grateful for the opportunity to play on home soil once again in the Spanish capital.

“Playing in Spain is something really, really important, and here in Madrid, the support and love of the people it’s always been unconditional,” Nadal said. “I am conscious of my age that I don’t know how many more times I’m going to be able to have the opportunity to play here in front of these people, so I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.”

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Day 5 Preview: Djokovic Meets Murray For First Time In Five Years

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Day 5 Preview: Djokovic Meets Murray For First Time In Five Years

Djokovic leads ATPHead2Head series, 25-11

All 16 of the remaining men in the Mutua Madrid Open singles draw will compete on a full-tilt Thursday at the Caja Magica, led by the marquee matchup between top seed Novak Djokovic and wild card Andy Murray, which will open play in Manolo Santana Stadium.

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz — who’ll be playing on his 19th birthday — will represent the Spanish interest on centre court, while Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the bill in Arantxa Sanchez Stadium.

The top three doubles seeds will also bid for quarter-final places at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

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[1] Novak Djokovic (SER) vs. [WC] Andy Murray (GBR)

Djokovic and Murray opened their ATP Head2Head account 16 years ago in Madrid, with the Serbian taking a three-set win when the event was played on indoor hard courts. On Thursday, they will again meet in the Spanish capital in their first matchup since the 2017 Doha final, also a three-set win for Djokovic.

Each of their past seven meetings have come in finals, including at the 2016 ATP Finals, where Murray won his 24th straight match in a winner-take-all meeting for year-end World No. 1. They’ve also met in the final of all four Grand Slams and have faced off at all nine ATP Masters 1000 events in their 36-match history.

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Both men have shown form worthy of a final run to reach the last 16 in Madrid. Murray dismissed Dominic Thiem and 14th seed Denis Shapovalov, while Djokovic produced what he called his “best performance of the year” to defeat Gael Monfils.

Murray, the World No. 78, holds an 8-1 record in first-round matches this season and has notched consecutive wins for the first time since he reached the Sydney title match in January. He’s now earned the opportunity to test his game against the World No. 1.

“In theory I should have no chance in the match. He’s obviously No. 1 in the world [and] I’m playing with a metal hip, so I shouldn’t have a chance in the match,” Murray said after reaching the third round. “It’s a great opportunity for me to see where my game’s at and to play against him again.

“We’ve had so many great battles over the years in some of the biggest tournaments in the world. We played in the final I think of all four Grand Slams, we played here in the final, and I haven’t had that opportunity to play against him for a long time. Didn’t know if I ever would get that chance, so I’ll enjoy it, I’ll have a fantastic attitude in the match, give it my best and see where I’m at.”

Djokovic, who owns a 25-11 edge in his rivalry with the Briton, was full of praise for his fellow 34-year-old ahead of their meeting.

“He’s moving well, playing better and better. It’s really fantastic to see, because he’s an important player for our game. He’s made his mark in the history of our sport by winning multiple Slams and gold medals and [reaching] No. 1 of the world. He’s one of the most important names that we have,” the Serbian said said.

“To have him still compete is great, and to have him even play at [a] high level as the time goes by is impressive, considering the surgery and what he has been through in the past few years. His resilience and fighting spirit is really inspiring.”

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [Q] David Goffin (BEL)

Nadal looked like he never left in his return from a six-week injury layoff on Wednesday as he battled past the in-form Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets. But the Spaniard, who’s seeking a sixth Madrid title, is not getting ahead of himself as he works his way back from a fractured rib. 

“I leave the match very, very happy,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference. “You have to be sincere with yourself whenever you can. You have to be truthful to yourself. My preparation has not existed. You cannot expect great things at the beginning, because before coming here, first day training was last Thursday. I have trained very, very little.

“Today I was able to play one hour [and] 55 minutes against an opponent that was playing really well in these past months, so [it is] a really good victory,” he added. “A lot of value to it. One hour [and] 55 minutes on court helps me a lot to reach my final goal, which is to recover my previous health and previous fitness. I’m very excited about it.”

Goffin has enjoyed a strong clay season to date, reaching the Marrakech final and the last 16 Monte Carlo. He has now carried that form into Madrid, where he’s notched four straight-sets wins, including two in qualifying. The Belgian got past Aslan Karatsev and Botic van de Zandschulp in the main draw to book a seventh ATP Head2Head matchup against Nadal.

Nadal leads the series 4-2, winning all four matches on clay but losing both hard-court contests, including their most recent meeting in the 2020 ATP Cup quarter-finals.

[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [9] Cameron Norrie (GBR)

Playing on his 19th birthday, home favourite Alcaraz will look to make it 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head against Norrie in this evening matchup, following straight-sets wins at the 2021 US Open and 2022 Indian Wells. He is seeking his fourth ATP Tour title of the season and, on the heels of his Barcelona title run, can complete a Spanish double with four more wins in Madrid.

Alcaraz eased into the tournament with a victory against Nikoloz Basilashvili in which he stormed back from behind in both sets of a 6-3, 7-5 victory. One year after losing to Nadal in the second round of his Madrid debut, the Murcia native has returned as an ATP Masters 1000 champion thanks to his stellar performance earlier this season in Miami.

“I think I’m more mature now,” he said, looking back to his last appearance in the Spanish capital. “One year is not too much time to get mature but I think I’m a different player, different person now. I manage the nerves better than before and I think now I’m ready to play these kinds of matches in these kind of stadiums in front of a lot of people. I’m feeling comfortable in these types [of matches].”

Norrie was a quarter-finalist in Barcelona has grinded his way into the Madrid third round with hard-fought wins over Soonwoo Kwon and John Isner. The ninth seed is seeking his sixth quarter-final in his last eight events, highlighted by his Delray Beach title.

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Best Of The Rest

Four ATP Tour matches feature on Court Arantxa Sanchez on Thursday. Sixth seed Andrey Rublev opens against Daniel Evans, followed by 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz taking on qualifier Dusan Lajovic. Another qualifier, #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti, will attempt to upset second seed Alexander Zverev before fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas battles the surging Grigor Dimitrov.

A meeting of Top 10 seeds headlines the action on Court 3, with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner set to square off for the first time. The top-seeded doubles duo of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury will open their Madrid campaign following that match, coming up against Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

Doubles second seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos will open play on Court 3 against Spanish wild cards Pablo Carreno Busta and Pedro Martinez, followed by third-seeded Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic taking on Simone Bolelli and Ivan Dodig.

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Nadal Wins Opening Set Against Kecmanovic On Madrid Return

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Nadal Wins Opening Set Against Kecmanovic On Madrid Return

Spaniard competing in first match since March

After six weeks away, Rafael Nadal made a fast start on his ATP Tour return Wednesday, winning the opening set against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 before rain suspended play at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Spaniard last competed in March, when American Taylor Fritz ended his perfect start to the season in the Indian Wells final. However, the World No. 4 quickly found his rhythm in a strong first-set performance against Kecmanovic, clinching the opener in 36 minutes as he showed little sign of rustiness.

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Nadal is aiming to lift his sixth trophy on home soil in Madrid this week, having last triumphed at the clay-court event in 2017. If he can accomplish the feat, he will move level with Novak Djokovic on a record 37 ATP Masters 1000 crowns.

The Spaniard, who captured a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, will improve to 21-1 on the season if he can finish the job against Kecmanovic when play resumes under the roof on Manolo Santana Stadium.

Kecmanovic is currently at a career-high No. 32 in the ATP Rankings having enjoyed a career-best start to the season. The 22-year-old has earned 23 tour-level wins, reaching the quarter-finals in Indian Wells and Miami.

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Zverev Shakes Off Cilic In Madrid

  • Posted: May 04, 2022

Zverev Shakes Off Cilic In Madrid

Lajovic upsets fifth seed Ruud

Reigning Mutua Madrid Open champion Alexander Zverev began his title defence Wednesday with a tough three-set win against Marin Cilic on Manolo Santana Stadium.

The German made a slow start in the second-round meeting, but found his range as the match went on. He fired 11 aces and hit his heavy groundstrokes with more authority in the second and third sets to maintain his strong record against the Croatian, advancing 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I thought I played very well. I just lost focus in the first set,” Zverev said. “But I am happy with the win and I am happy to be though. Marin is a difficult opponent, especially with the altitude here, so I am happy with this match.”

Zverev, who also triumphed at the clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event in 2018, has now won his past seven matches against the 33-year-old, having lost their first encounter in Washington in 2015.


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Following his two-hour, 17-minute triumph, the 25-year-old has earned 16 match victories in Madrid, his best record at any Masters 1000 event. The second seed will aim to make it 17 when he takes on American Sebastian Korda or #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the third round.

“It helps to be on this court again. It is always great to have those memories in the back of your mind,” Zverev said when reflecting on his past results in Madrid. “But I have to have this year on my mind and I have to focus on playing well and hopefully I can do that this week.”

The World No. 3 is looking to lift his first trophy of the season in Madrid, after falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals at the first clay-court Masters 1000 of the year in Monte Carlo.

Meanwhile, Cilic was aiming to clinch his first Top 5 win since 2018, when he downed then-World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

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In other action, Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic shocked fifth seed Casper Ruud 7-6(7), 2-6, 6-4 to earn consecutive main-draw wins at a tournament for the first time since Toronto last August.

The World No. 77, who reached the last eight in Madrid in 2018, saved one set point on Ruud’s serve at 6/7 in the first-set tie-break, eventually triumphing after two hours and 19 minutes.

The 31-year-old will next meet Pole Hubert Hurkacz or Monte Carlo finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Daniel Evans also advanced, edging past Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(2) after two hours and 58 minutes. The Briton will play sixth seed Andrey Rublev in the last 16, with the pair locked at 2-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.

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