Ruusuvuori Clutch Under Pressure To Upset Hurkacz In Washington
Emil Ruusuvuori lost the first set of his Citi Open run 1-6 against Mackenzie McDonald. The Finnish star has not looked back since.
After rallying past McDonald on Tuesday, Ruusuvuori upset second seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-6(3) on Wednesday to reach the third round at the ATP 500 event in Washington. The 23-year-old saved all four break points he faced against the Pole to triumph after one hour and 44 minutes.
“I just was able to hang in there in the first couple games. He had an early break point, but then I was able to keep that service game and give myself a chance to break him and I was able to use it and then just try to keep my own serve,” Ruusuvuori said in his on-court interview. “I didn’t have many chances until the [second-set] tie-break and then I got a look at a couple second serves and [made] a couple deep returns, so that gave me the chance.”
Hurkacz battled hard until the end, relying on all the skills in his all-court game, even winning a point in the second set with a backhand skyhook and trying to pump up the crowd with a forehand passing shot. But Ruusuvuori won back-to-back points on his opponent’s serve late in the tie-break and that proved decisive.
“I just tried to hang in there and tried to stay as tough as [I] can,” Ruusuvuori said. “[The] long rallies, they really drain you and you start to feel dizzy during the points, so [it was] very tough. But it’s a part of the game during this period of the year.”
Ruusuvuori climbed to No. 43 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, one spot off his career high. He will next play 15th seed Aslan Karatsev or Swede Mikael Ymer.