Fabian Marozsan’s red-hot form carried him past eighth seed Casper Ruud on Tuesday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where the Hungarian prevailed 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 in an intriguing fourth-round encounter.
The World No. 82 Marozsan stepped on court having won all six sets he had played at the ATP Masters 1000 event and he held his nerve in a tie-break to extend that streak to seven at the Qizhong Tennis Center. The 24-year-old then edged the World No. 9 Ruud in a tense deciding set to book a clash with 16th seed Hubert Hurkacz or home favourite Zhang Zhizhen in his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final.
“I’m very happy to beat Casper,” said Marozsan. “He’s a top-seeded player here in Shanghai. I just started very good. I played one of my best matches in Shanghai. I was just happy to win the first set. Of course, the second set was not easy, he started to play much better, and the third was also a tough one. I’m really happy to beat him here.”
Both players kept cool heads under pressure throughout their maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting, with Ruud saving 12 of 14 break points he faced and Marozsan saving eight from 11. It was the latter who found something extra at the tail end of the third set, however, as he clinched a decisive break in the ninth game before saving two break points to serve out a two-hour, 41-minute win.
It was a second Top 10 victory of the season for Marozsan, who stunned World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz with a free-hitting display in the third round in Rome on his Masters 1000 debut in May. He also defeated then-World No. 11 Alex de Minaur in the second round in Shanghai.
“It’s just about playing tennis,” said Marozsan, when asked how he kept his cool against more established players. “Carlos is a great player, he [was] the No. 1 player in the world, so they are big names. I’m just happy to play here in the biggest tournaments on the ATP Tour. I’m feeling really good here.”
Deadly Drop Shots☠️💧— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) October 10, 2023
Marozsan using his Drop Shot & Short Slices to create 12 #WinningPlays on his way to beating Ruud in 3 sets#WinningPlays:
✅ Highlight a specific winning tactic
✅ Recognise that the "key" shot is not always the winner or the last shot in the rally… pic.twitter.com/8rHBAgUDES
Sebastian Korda joined Marozsan in the quarter-finals by beating Francisco Cerundolo to back up the biggest win of his career against Daniil Medvedev. The 26th-seeded American held off a late Cerundolo comeback to secure a 7-5, 7-6(6) triumph and reach his second Masters 1000 quarter-final.
Korda led 5-2 in the second set after a mostly commanding display but he failed to serve out the match at 5-3 as Cerundolo began to make inroads with his powerful groundstrokes. The Argentine then forged a 5/2 lead in the tie-break and held set point at 6/5 but Korda regained his composure to claim a one-hour, 40-minute victory after winning six of the final seven points.
“I’m very happy. I served for it in the second set, didn’t play my best game, but he really raised his level and played some incredible tennis,” said Korda. “I’m just super happy with the way I played in the tie-break. I stayed calm when he was a couple of mini-breaks up and I’m just happy with how I played overall.”
The American is now 25-13 in a season during which he has impressed at times but was also disrupted by a three-month competitive absence due to a wrist injury. Korda cited his victory against Medvedev on Saturday as a major mental boost prior to his first Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Cerundolo.
“You’ve got to play some really good tennis to beat some of the best in the world, so I gained a lot of confidence from that match and I really used it today, especially in some of the crucial moments,” said Korda. “I just stayed calm, believed in myself and really went after it.”
With his win, Korda rose to No. 23 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, setting him up for a new career-high in the next edition of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 23-year-old, whose previous Masters 1000 quarter-final came in Miami in 2021, will play Ben Shelton next after the #NextGenATP American beat sixth seed Jannik Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).