Ruud Sails Through In Shanghai, Nakashima Sinks Rune

  • Posted: Oct 06, 2023

Ruud Sails Through In Shanghai, Nakashima Sinks Rune

Marozsan upsets De Minaur, Musetti falls at ATP Masters 1000

Casper Ruud’s long wait for his Rolex Shanghai Masters debut did not disappoint.

The eighth seed powered to a 7-5, 6-0 triumph against Yoshihito Nishioka on Friday at the Chinese ATP Masters 1000 event. The Norwegian let slip an early 4-1 lead on the Qizhong Tennis Center’s Stadium Court but quashed Nishioka’s comeback in style by winning eight straight games from 5-5 for a 75-minute second-round win.

“I’m very happy of course,” said Ruud. “Yoshihito came back in a tough, long first set. These things can happen. Whoever wins a first set like this will feel motivated to keep going in the second.

“I know the feeling myself. You feel like you worked hard for an hour just to lose the set and it feels like you have to climb a mountain to turn the match around. Maybe that’s what happened. I got a great start in the second and I just kept it going.”

Ruud is attempting to complete the set of fourth-round appearances at all nine ATP Masters 1000 events as the ATP Tour returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2019. A deep run will also boost the Norwegian’s Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes. The 24-year-old, a finalist at the prestigious season finale last year, is currently 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

His next opponent in Shanghai will be Christopher Eubanks. The 29th-seeded American was in early trouble on Friday, but he rallied to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph against Yannick Hanfmann.

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Another Turin hopeful, Holger Rune, could not join Ruud in the third round. Brandon Nakashima powered to a 6-0, 6-2 triumph against Denmark’s Rune, converting five of his 14 break points in a scintillating display.

It was a maiden Top 10 victory for Nakashima, who has struggled to find his best level this year after lifting the trophy at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals. It was just the third time this season he has sealed consecutive tour-level wins, and the American will hope to make it three in a row in Shanghai when he next faces Tomas Martin Etcheverry or home favourite Zhang Zhizhen.

Rune’s defeat is a blow for 20-year-old as he looks to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. He remains eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin but has now won just one of seven matches since reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in July.

Three other seeded players joined Rune in exiting the Shanghai draw after early defeats on Friday. Fabian Marozsan, the 23-year-old Hungarian who upset Carlos Alcaraz in May in Rome, downed 11th seed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 7-5. The World No. 91 outhit De Minaur by 28 winners to 15 for an 85-minute triumph.

Marozsan, who claimed his first hard-court Masters 1000 win in the first round against Arthur Rinderknech, will take on Dusan Lajovic next. The Serbian led 6-4, 3-2 when his 23rd-seeded opponent Tallon Griekspoor retired from their second-round clash.

Lorenzo Musetti also fell to a second-round defeat. Hsu Yu Hsiou, the qualifier from Chinese Taipei, eased to a 6-3, 6-4 victory against the 11th seed to book a third-round clash with Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6(5), 6-4. Hsu had not competed at a Masters 1000 event prior to this week in Shanghai.

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