Ruud Hopes Miami Win Is First Spark In Season Revival

Should Casper Ruud be hoping to jump-start his 2023 season in Miami, scene of his first ATP Masters 1000 final last year, he’s made a solid start. On Friday night Ruud enjoyed a 6-2, 6-3 win over World No. 80 Ilya Ivashka to breeze into the third round.

The 24-year-old World No. 4, who is just 5-5 on the season, will now look to claim consecutive wins for the first time this year when he next meets 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp, of The Netherlands.

“I want to believe one match will turn it around but there are still a lot of matches to be played with a lot of good players left in the tournament,” Ruud said. “It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve played a match after taking an early loss in Indian Wells. I worked hard and came into Miami with great memories from last year.”

The nine-time ATP Tour titlist, who also reached last year’s Roland Garros, US Open and Nitto ATP Finals title matches, dropped just six points on his first serve and converted four of eight break point opportunities.

The Norwegian enjoyed a clean match with 21 winners to 13 unforced errors and benefitted from Ivashka’s 23 unforced errors.

“Last year I won’t say I turned around my year here because I won Buenos Aires, but then I had an injury that kept me out for two to three weeks and then I lost early in Indian Wells,” Ruud said. “When people asked about my expectations I said I just wanted to have a good finish to the hard-court season and I made the final.

“So I’m just going to try to win some matches again, not think about what [points] I have to defend and just try to get some momentum.”

Ivashka slipped to 2-18 against Top 10 opponents and to 0-5 against Top 5 opposition.

In other results on Day 3, Seventh seed Holger Rune saved the lone break point he faced in a 6-3, 7-5 win over gritty Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. Bulgaria’s 21st seed Grigor Dimitrov rallied from a set down to defeat German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

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