Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Paris [France], June 1 (ANI): Casper Ruud continued to build early momentum at the ongoing French Open 2023 as he overcame a spirited second-round challenge from Giulio Zeppieri on Thursday at the clay-court major.

The fourth seed downed the Italian qualifier 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Ruud put on a high-level all-around performance for much of the three-hour, four-minute match, but Zeppieri used his gritty lefty game to grab a foothold in the contest and win the third set. The Norwegian's consistently deep groundstrokes were vital in his triumph, as he converted five of 13 break points overall to reach the third round at Roland Garros for the fifth year in a row.

The 24-year-old continues his latest campaign in the French capital with a third-round clash against China's Zhang Zhizhen or Argentine qualifier Thiago Agustin Tirante.

"It was a tough match. I started well, got a break early and served well myself. That's the beauty of best-of-five sets. In a normal match, I would have won 6-3, 6-2, but here you have the chance to fight like he did. He played much better in the third set and the fourth set and it became very tough," quoted Ruud as saying in his on-court interview.

"In the end there also, I served for the match, and he played well, and it gets pretty physical out here. So, I'm very happy to come through and not having to play a fifth set was nice today. I have extra time to recover for my next match."The Norwegian claimed his 10th tour-level crown in Estoril in April but has also suffered some surprise early exits.

Ruud's semi-final run at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome last month suggested he was recovering confidence on the greatest stage, and his strong start to Roland Garros will boost hopes that he can make another deep run in Paris. Despite the fact that the circumstances were warmer than during his remarkable run last year, the 24-year-old demonstrated his ability to adapt with a fairly rock-solid performance in which he produced only 28 unforced errors to his opponent's 51.

"So far quite good, but still many matches to play in the tournament. I'm just happy to be here, happy to win my first two matches... These are perfect playing conditions if you ask me. Twenty-four or 25 degrees, sunny, beautiful Paris. There's a lot of things to enjoy on this court and in this tournament," said Ruud. (ANI)

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