Ruusuvuori Stuns Zverev, Tiafoe Escapes Evans
Playing in his tournament debut at the ATP Masters 1000 event, 21-year-old Ruusuvuori changed tactics after dropping the opening set. The Finnish player dialed up the aggression against the World No. 7 and moved up to the net to complete the turnaround for his first Top 10 victory of the year. It's just the second of his career, after defeating Dominic Thiem in 2019 in Davis Cup play.
"I don't even know myself [how I turned this match around]," Ruusuvuori said in his on-court interview. "I wasn't feeling very comfortable in the first set and I was making a lot of unforced errors. But slowly in the second I was starting to feel a bit better...
"Of course, it's one of the biggest wins in my career so it feels good."
Up against last week’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC champion, Ruusuvuori struggled to make an impact in the opening set. Zverev was in untouchable form as he searched for his fifth match win in a row, and reeled off the first four games on his way to claiming the opening set.
The Finnish player, who sits at No. 83 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, racked up 36 unforced errors in the match – and almost half came in the opening set as he tried to match Zverev’s firepower from the baseline. In the second, he varied his game plan and took the ball early, increasingly moving forward to finish points at the net when given the opportunity.
The change of tactics paid off, and Zverev found himself under pressure as Ruusuvuori created 15 break opportunities in the second set, converting four times. Ruusuvuori reeled off the last five games of the match to close out the victory in two hours and five minutes.
"I wanted to play [this way] in the first set too, but I was just missing too much and he was playing pretty okay, making a lot of balls and it was tough to return the serve," he said. "In the end, I was not making a lot of mistakes and picking my shots very well. That of course helps a lot in tennis!"
Into the third round at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the second time, Ruusuvuori will face Mikael Ymer in his next match. The Swede pulled off his own Miami upset earlier in the day, advancing after a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 27 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Joining them in the third round, Frances Tiafoe had to mount a comeback after letting a first-set lead slip away against 19th seed Daniel Evans. The American was up a break and had three set points at 5-3 in the first set, but his opponent came roaring back.
Tiafoe needed two hours and 52 minutes to take down Evans 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 and book a third-round meeting with No. 16 seed Dusan Lajovic.
“I thought I hit my forehand great tonight and I served really well at times. But overall, it was in how I competed,” Tiafoe said. “I mean, I could have easily went away after 5-3, 40/0 serving and losing the first [set]. But I stuck with it and he felt that, and I was able to get the win. So that’s big.”