At 23 years old Casper Ruud is hardly an ATP Tour veteran, but the seventh seed had to use all his experience to nullify an energetic performance from #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune and reach the third round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday.
“Holger is one of the young guys on Tour, he’s on the rise, and he was playing well today,” said the fourth seed after securing a 7-6(5), 7-5 victory on Court Rainier III. “He played much more aggressive than in [our] previous matches and he didn’t let me control the match as much as I would like to.”
The match was a far-cry from the pair’s two previous meetings, both won by Ruud in straight sets. The fourth seed clicked his powerful groundstrokes into gear just in time to recover a 3/5 deficit in the first-set tie-break before fighting back from 1-3 down to take a second frame that featured seven breaks of serve.
“He took the ball on the rise many times and was playing fast,” said Ruud. “He’s had some matches on the surface already this year and has been in a good flow, so I’m happy that I was able to stop him.”
Despite the loss, 18-year-old Rune can take plenty of positives from a performance that featured some real moments of quality, a demonstration of the talent that has so many in the tennis world talking. The Dane moved to a career-high No. 79 in the ATP Rankings on Monday and notched a maiden win in Monte Carlo by beating Aslan Karatsev in the first round.
Ruud’s next assignment at the Monte Carlo Country Club will be a third-round clash with World No. 29 Grigor Dimitrov, as the Norwegian seeks to back up his run to a maiden ATP Masters 1000 final at the Miami Open presented by Itau just under two weeks ago.