Ruud Battles Into Round Three At Roland Garros
The fourth seed overcame a spirited second-round challenge from Giulio Zeppieri on Thursday at the clay-court major, where he downed the Italian qualifier 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Ruud delivered a high-class all-around display for much of the three-hour, four-minute encounter, although Zeppieri deployed his gritty lefty game to good effect to gain a foothold in the match and clinch the third set. The Norwegian’s consistently deep groundstrokes proved decisive to his victory as he converted five of 13 break points overall to reach the Roland Garros third round for the fifth year in a row.
“It was a tough match,” said Ruud in his on-court interview. “I started well, got a break early and served well myself. That’s the beauty of best-of-five sets. In a normal match I would have won 6-3, 6-2, but here you have the chance to fight like he did. He played much better in the third set and the fourth set, and it became very tough.
“In the end there also, I served for the match, and he played well, and it gets pretty physical out here. So, I’m very happy to come through and not having to play a fifth set was nice today. I have extra time to recover for my next match.”
After a stellar 2022 in which he lifted three ATP Tour trophies, reached the championship match at Roland Garros and the US Open, and reached a career-high No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Ruud has struggled for consistency this season. The Norwegian claimed his 10th tour-level crown in Estoril in April but has also suffered some surprise early exits.
A semi-final run last month at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome suggested Ruud was regaining his confidence on the biggest stage, however, and his impressive start to Roland Garros will increase belief that he can forge another deep run in Paris. Although the conditions have been warmer than during his standout run last year, the 24-year-old showcased his ability to adjust with a largely rock-solid showing against Zeppieri in which he made just 28 unforced errors to his opponent’s 51.
“So far quite good, but still many matches to play in the tournament,” said Ruud. “I’m just happy to be here, happy to win my first two matches… These are perfect playing conditions if you ask me. Twenty-four or 25 degrees, sunny, beautiful Paris. There’s a lot of things to enjoy on this court and in this tournament.”
The No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Ruud now holds a 14-5 record at Roland Garros, where he reached the championship match in 2022. The 24-year-old continues his latest campaign in the French capital with a third-round clash against China’s Zhang Zhizhen or Argentine qualifier Thiago Agustin Tirante.
Ruud was 83rd in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin after his third-round exit in Miami in April, but he has now surged to 15th as he chases a third consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals.
In other action, Nicolas Jarry earned his seventh consecutive win when he overcame American Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5. The Chilean, who triumphed in Geneva last week, will next meet Marcos Giron after the American downed Jiri Lehecka 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.