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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday October 11, 2021

Casper Ruud is making the most of his BNP Paribas Open debut. The Norwegian, still 22, and seemingly destined for glory in this game, has been a revelation in 2021 and on Monday he stretched his current winning streak to six by battling past Lloyd Harris in a very difficult encounter 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, to book his spot in the round of 16.

Tennis Express

Ruud, who won the San Diego Open title last week, enters the main draw at a career-high ranking of 10, and with designs on locking up a spot in the ATP’s prestigious year-end finals, to be held in Turin from November 14 to 21.

Ruud is currently ninth in the rank, which would be good for qualification due to the fact that Rafael Nadal – currently five – will not play again this season. But with many talents chasing him, including Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz, who are each still alive in the singles draw at Indian Wells, the Norwegian would like to pad his lead as much as possible before he heads back to Europe to finish out the season.

On Monday he did that by scratching and clawing past Harris, an aggressive baseliner that threw everything but the kitchen sink in Ruud’s direction, but fell short in the most crucial moments, going zero for eight on his break point opportunities as Ruud finally edge past him in two hours and 51 minutes.

After the match Ruud credited a quote from a former coach of his father’s, Rick Macci.

“Losers find excuses, winners find a way,” he said.

It was that type of grittiness that helped Ruud – in possession of enough power to dominate many players with his brutally heavy topspin forehand and booming serves, but not Harris – squeak out a critical victory.

These are the types of victories that seem to come to players with 49 wins and five titles under their belt. Whether the chicken or the egg came first is unclear. What is clear is that Ruud has never felt so good on a tennis court, or believed in his talents so much. It showed today as it has shown all year.

He will face Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman for a spot in the quarterfinals.


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