Andrey Rublev eases past Soonwoo Kwoni in Rotterdam; Winning return for Casper Ruud

The second seed arrived in Rotterdam after suffering a disappointing third-round defeat against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January.

Andrey Rublev in a file photo; Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

Reigning champion Andrey Rublev defeated Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 6-3 at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on Thursday. With that result, he has reached the quarter-finals in Rotterdam. The Russian was in complete control against Kwon throughout the match, as he produced a dominant display to advance after 79 minutes. The second seed arrived in Rotterdam after suffering a disappointing third-round defeat against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January. Notably, Rublev is yet to drop a set at the indoor-hard tournament this week. The 24-year-old will next take on either one of World No. 38 Marton Fucsovics or Dutch wild card Tallon Griekspoor.

“The first set was a high level with long, high intensity rallies,” Rublev said in his on-court interview. “My heart was beating fast. I am happy I was able to win the match in straight sets. He likes to play from the baseline and from the first point we had long rallies. You quickly realise it is going to be a tough match and that you are going to need to run a lot.”

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Earlier, Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka overcame Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp after losing the first set. He went on to win the match 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 after one hour and 59 minutes. The World No. 137 registered his maiden tour-level win over World No. 12 Denis Shapovalov in the first round and backed this up against van de Zandschulp. Lehecka will next face Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the quarter-finals.

“I tried to play my best and as we saw in the second and third sets, it was good,” Lehecka said in his on-court interview. “In the first set, they were many bad choices from my side and my serve didn’t work well. In the second set I focused on improving my serve and first few shots after the serve and return. It was a pretty good match and I am happy with the win.”

Casper Ruud makes winning return

Casper Ruud returned to action at Argentina Open on Wednesday with a straight sets win following an ankle injury that forced his late withdrawal from the season’s first Grand Slam – Australian Open. Playing his first match since the ATP Cup, the 23-year-old Norwegian beat Roberto Carballes Baena, 7-6, 6-3, in Buenos Aires. Ruud will next take on Federico Coria in the quarter-finals.

“It was a good start. First time playing on clay in six months, so everything is a bit new again,” he said post-match. “Of course I prefer to play on clay, but it takes some time to get used to the court and playing points.”

“I feel, obviously, very good in Buenos Aires. I was a bit nervous coming back because it’s the first time I have to defend a title,” he said, before thanking the fans for their support. Everything is a bit different since two years ago. When I won here it was a surprise. I was young.”

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