© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Filip Krajinovic blows a kiss to the crowd after sealing a straight-sets victory over Andrey Rublev in Rome on Tuesday.

Krajinovic Routs Rublev; Ruud Takes Revenge On Botic

Fifth Seed Ruud avenges loss to van de Zandschulp

Filip Krajinovic produced an inspired performance to upset Andrey Rublev at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday, nullifying the sixth seed's powerful groundstrokes to surge to a 6-2, 6-4 win at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

It was the fifth tour-level meeting between Rublev and Krajinovic, but the first on clay, and it was the Serbian who settled faster on Grand Stand Arena. The World No. 54 opened a 4-0 lead on his way to the opening set and took the second with a solitary break to record a 69-minute victory, sealing the deal in style with a sliced backhand drop shot that left Rublev with no chance.

The win moves Krajinovic 3-2 ahead in the pair's ATP Head2Head series. Having beaten Frances Tiafoe in the first round on Sunday, the triumph over Rublev means Krajinovic equals his best previous performance in Rome, a third-round run in 2020. Tuesday’s victory over the World No. 7 was just the Serbian’s fourth over a Top 10 opponent in 27 attempts.

Krajinovic’s third-round opponent will be a home favourite, either Fabio Fognini or 10th seed Jannik Sinner.

Fifth seed Casper Ruud avoided an upset of his own when he eked out a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4 win over Botic van de Zandschulp, avenging a recent straight-sets loss to the dangerous Dutchman in Munich. The Norwegian next will play the winner of David Goffin and Jenson Brooksby.

Ruud this week is looking to turn around a relatively modest clay-court swing, which had returned just four wins from four events heading into Rome. No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Ruud improved to 18-8 on the season after winning 61 per cent of points on his opponent’s serve.

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