Casper Ruud fended off a strong comeback from Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to complete a 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the fourth round of the French Open and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal here on Monday.
In a meeting between two players both making fourth-round debuts in the French capital, it was the World No. 8 Ruud who took control early as the 12th-seeded Hurkacz was unable to consistently counter the powerful ball-striking of the 23-year-old Norwegian on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Ruud demonstrated the ability to handle tough match situations on his way to the last eight in Paris. He opened with an emotional four-set win in home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s last match before retirement and came through a five-set thriller against Lorenzo Sonego in the third round.
Despite the efforts of Monte Carlo and Madrid quarter-finalist Hurkacz, Ruud was clinical in notching two breaks of his own to seal an eighth straight win and book a quarter-final appointment with Stefanos Tsitsipas or Holger Rune.
“It feels great,” said Ruud in his on-court interview.
“It’s been one of the goals for me this year, to try and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. I don’t know why, but suddenly when I came here this year I felt a little bit more experienced playing five sets. I wasn’t able to play in Australia so Roland Garros was a big goal for me, especially this year.”
“Hubert has improved a lot on clay from previous years,”” said Ruud.
“He has become a dangerous player on all surfaces, especially here on the clay where if the sun is out, it is quite fast.”