“On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game [from] the past decade or so. Even what he’s done now the past [few] years, fighting his way back from a very serious injury, it’s been an inspiration for me,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “Also for the [past] 10, 15 years, he’s been an inspiration to watch on TV the way he fights and always finds a way to never give up.”
“It’s been an unfortunate couple of years for him, but it’s great to see him back and I think he was playing at a high level today.”
Murray came into the clash match tough after making the Metz semi-finals last week and beating American Denis Kudla in the first round in San Diego. But the three-time major champion managed to win just 51 per cent of his service points and lost serve five times in his defeat.
Ruud returned from near the back wall for both first and second serves, giving himself time to unleash heavy forehands and take control of the points. Murray at points took the initiative and played aggressively but Ruud, who has won four clay-court titles this year, showed his speed and defensive skills to get out of trouble.
The Norwegian let slip an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3 in the second set. But he quickly rebounded to break Murray for the fifth time and seal his victory.
“It’s nice to be here in San Diego. It’s my first time. It’s a great city,” Ruud told the fans. “Tennis players, we usually never get to see much of the west coast… to have an event here in San Diego, I hope they can repeat it for more years in the future.”
How Casper Ruud Is Surprising His Father
Ruud’s next opponent, Sonego, defeated #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 27 minutes. The Italian has now beaten Korda twice on hard courts this year.
Ruud won his only previous ATP Head2Head meeting against Sonego last year on clay in Rome.