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Ruud Races Into Second Round At Roland Garros
Last year’s Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud is up and running at the clay-court major in 2023, dispatching Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round for the sixth consecutive season.
The fourth seed, who lost against Rafael Nadal in the title match 12 months ago, quickly found his range on his return to Paris. The Norwegian hit freely on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, outmanoeuvring World No. 155 Ymer with his mixture of spins to advance after two hours and seven minutes.
"It was tough. The first match back here since one of the best tournament's of my life, you have to try to defend what you did last year, so I was a bit nervous at times," Ruud said in his on-court interview. "But I managed to calm down and as the match went on I felt a little better. I had to stay focused all the way and I am very happy happy to be through in straight sets."
Ruud struck 28 winners compared to 17 from Ymer, while he broke the Swede’s serve eight times to earn his 14th win at Roland Garros.
"It is great to be back in Paris and play in front of the French crowd," Ruud added. "They are very passionate. I had a great experience last year making the final and as every match went on I felt more supporters were coming to watch and support me."
Ruud has had a modest season by his standards, failing to win consecutive matches at 10 of the 12 events he has played. However, the 24-year-old’s best results have come on clay, with Ruud capturing his 10th tour-level trophy in Estoril in April before he advanced to the semi-finals in Rome.
The World No. 4, who is chasing his maiden Grand Slam title this fortnight, will next meet Alexander Bublik or Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri.
In other early action on Day 3, Tommy Paul defeated #NextGenATP Swiss Dominic Stricker 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The American, who advanced to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, hit 25 winners and committed 17 unforced errors to clinch his 18th win of the season.
Paul, currently 11th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, will play Geneva champion Nicolas Jarry in the second round. The Chilean defeated Hugo Dellien 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
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