The seventh-seeded Dane notched his second consecutive straight-sets victory on Sunday by seeing off Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 to book his spot in the fourth round at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Up against the resilient Schwartzman for the first time, Rune converted all four break points he earned to seal a 92-minute victory and quieten the vociferous Argentine support on Court Butch Buchholz.
“It was very important [to get in front early],” said Rune after the match. “Diego is very strong… My focus was really to be strong every time I played to put him under pressure, and I did that very well. I’m super happy at how composed I stayed today.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 26, 2023
Prior to the tournament, Rune had spoken of his desire to create positive memories at Hard Rock Stadium after he was forced to retire injured during qualifying last year. The 19-year-old has certainly started well in chasing that goal in Florida, where he overcame Marton Fucsovics in his opening match.
Rune’s all-around game appeared in good working order against Schwartzman. His powerful forehand was instrumental in the Dane finishing with 25 winners to Schwartzman’s eight. Rune’s break of the Argentine’s serve in the opening game of the match proved enough to ultimately clinch the first set and he then broke three more times in the second as the World No. 8’s razor-sharp returning proved too much for Schwartzman to handle.
“It’s 30 degrees… So it was going to be very tough physically [if I didn’t stay on the front foot],” said Rune. “My focus was really to step in every time I could and play my game. I think there were a few rallies where I didn’t, but 95 per cent of the match was played on my terms, which was what I wanted.
“I’m super happy that I was able to break him and I only got broken once, because he is super strong as a return player.”
— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) March 26, 2023
Rune, who lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Paris Masters in November, will meet ninth seed Taylor Fritz or 24th seed Denis Shapovalov next in Florida. The teenager is now 14-6 for the season as he looks to back up his stellar 2022, when he lifted his first three ATP Tour trophies and cracked the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time.