Francisco Cerundolo held off his own nerves and a strong comeback from defending champion Casper Ruud to cause a second-round upset and earn his first Top 10 win at the Nordea Open in Bastad on Wednesday afternoon.
Cerundolo broke Roland Garros finalist Ruud’s serve three times to run out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 winner at the ATP 250 event in Sweden. Despite the World No. 5 Ruud raising his level after a slow start to pile the pressure on the 23-year-old Argentine, Cerundolo clinched a decisive break in the 12th game of the third set to reach the quarter-finals in Bastad for the first time.
“I think I was playing really well in the first one-and-a-half sets, and then I got a little bit tight,” said Cerundolo. “I started missing a little bit and he started serving better. He’s a great player, a French Open finalist, so it was a great challenge for me and I’m really happy to get through.”
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Cerundolo and Ruud’s sole previous meeting came in the semi-finals of the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. The Norwegian was a comfortable straight-sets winner on that occasion, but Cerundolo was clinical at key moments on Wednesday as Ruud struggled to find his rhythm in his first match on clay since he fell to Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros championship match in early June.
Cerundolo, who is up to No. 35 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, will next face Aslan Karatsev or Hugo Gaston as he seeks his third tour-level semi-final of 2022.
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Earlier on Wednesday, Pablo Carreno Busta notched his 250th tour-level win with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 victory against 2016 champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Both players broke their opponent’s serve five times in a topsy-turvy second-round clash, but it was Carreno Busta who prevailed to move to 4-0 on clay against fellow Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas, with all four of those meetings having gone to a deciding set. The fifth seed will next face Diego Schwartzman or Elias Ymer as he looks to advance to the semi-finals in Bastad for the first time, in what is his fifth appearance at the ATP 250 event.
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