© St. Petersburg Open

Casper Ruud defeats Alexander Bublik in a battle of rising stars at the St. Petersburg Open.

#NextGenATP Ruud Scores First Indoor Win In St. Petersburg

2010 champion Kukushkin advances on Wednesday

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud picked up his first win at an indoor ATP Tour event on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. The eighth seed held off a stern challenge from Kazakh Alexander Bublik to advance 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2.

“Sascha is a good friend among the other guys on Tour. He hits a lot of fast serves and big shots, so I just tried to be ready for that,” Ruud said. “You have to take it match by match because it’s a very strong competition here, but I’ll try to win every match I play.”

Ruud raced through the last five games of the match to advance in two hours and two minutes. Awaiting him in the second round is Salvatore Caruso, who prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Italian battle with Thomas Fabbiano.

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Portuguese Joao Sousa didn’t drop serve in a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, setting him up for a second-round clash with second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov. Hungarian Marton Fucsovics rallied from 1-5 in the opening set and saved five set points en route to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Russian qualifier Alexey Vatutin. Next up for Fucsovics is fourth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric, who won their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting this year at the Australian Open.

In a battle of former St. Petersburg champions, 2010 winner and sixth seed Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan defeated 2017 champion Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 7-6(2), 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals. The other second-round match on Wednesday saw Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov score the upset of the day against seventh-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-1. The 26-year-old's most recent ATP Tour quarter-final also came on Russian soil last October in Moscow.

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