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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday October 25, 2023

Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz kept the pressure on Holger Rune with victories, as the Race to Turin continues to heat up.

Photo Source: Getty

There is still plenty of hope for Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz to vault into position to play this year’s Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, and Ruud is enjoying the challenge of trying to make a late push.

Tennis Express

The Norwegian, currently tenth in the race, made his case on Wednesday with a first-round takedown of Alexander Bublik 7-6(5), 6-2 to improve to 6-1 lifetime against the Kazakh.

Ruud talked about the challenge of facing the talented, enigmatic World No.30, after notching his 37th win of the season.

“It’s fire and ice, really,” he said of the matchup with Bublik, which has been extremely favorable for him.

Ruud, who will face talented Swiss Dominic Stricker in the second round, says he relies on his steadiness to take ownership of his matches with Bublik.

“It’s incredible shotmaking from Sasha in every match he plays. Me, I’m more of the steady guy who makes a lot of balls, which I would imagine is annoying for a player like Sasha, to play a player who just manages to get everything back. I try not to get fooled by going into his rhythm and his kind of game, that’s not where I’m winning my matches.

"I need to focus really well and many times when I’ve played him I have. I’m very happy to win today, Sasha is a great player and an in-form player – he won last week – so to stop him is a good feeling.”

It wasn’t only Bublik who produced incredible shotmaking. Check out this tweener on the first point of the second set from Ruud.

Ruud on Turin: Don’t Want to Overthink

Ruud moves closer to Holger Rune with his win, but he has Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz between himself and the No.8 spot, so will likely need a deep run in Basel or Paris to move up the ladder.

He says he’s happy to be in the mix, but not dwelling on it.

“It is a bit, but at the end of the day I don’t want to think too much about it,” the World No. 10 said. “I just want to enjoy the competition, the race, the weeks, and the journey that we’re on. Sometimes you are in this position, sometimes you are not. Even though you’d love to be qualified it’s still a fun position to be in, I hope I can qualify in these last two, three weeks, but whatever happens I’m just trying to finish strong and focus on my matches, every match that I play, and tomorrow is another opportunity.”

Fritz Draws Closer to Rune

Another player that is pushing for a Turin spot is Fritz and he’s next in line behind No.8 Rune after his 7-6(7), 7-6(4) win over Max Purcell on Wednesday.

“I think I was lucky to win the first set, I played some really big points really well, in some important moments in the tiebreak,” Fritz said after the win. “I came up pretty clutch in the first set to take it. Second set I was serving well, serving a lot better, then I just kind of got in my own way and made it complicated, I was lucky to refocus and play a good tiebreak.”

Fritz has won all of his opening-round matches on hard courts this season, but he says he’ll need a deep run to make any impact on the rankings.

Fritz will face Alexander Svechenko in second-round action on Thursday.

“That’s cool, but the way the points are rewarded it doesn’t really do much for you, I’d rather lose first round every week and then every once in a while win a title,” he said of his unbeaten run in opening matches on hard courts in 2023.

“As far as where I’m at in the Race, I’m in a good spot, and I have a pretty decent chance if I can come up with a big result in one of these two weeks.”

Hurkacz is currently 10th in the Race standings, 200 points behind Fritz and 290 behind Rune.


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