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Australian Open: Ruud, Zverev Move To Second Round

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Melbourne [Australia]: World No 2 Casper Ruud made a perfect start to his Australian Open campaign, defeating Czech Tomas Machac 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-3 to reach the second round in Melbourne with his eyes set at the top spot in the ATP rankings on Tuesday.

Ruud, contesting in the hard-court major for the fourth time, was made work hard during their maiden matchup against Machac under the roof at Margaret Court Arena. The 22-year-old ran the second seed around the court while producing 52 clear winners. Ruud overcame the World No. 110 in several cat-and-mouse battles to win the match in three hours and fifteen minutes, after having had his two-set lead reduced at the end of the third set.

The 24-year-old will play Jenson Brooksby next after the American overcame Australian Christopher O’Connell 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in Melbourne. The American hit 55 winners and broke serve four times.

Ruud had a stellar 2022 season in which he won three tour-level championships and advanced to the finals at the US Open and Roland Garros.

The Norwegian would surpass the injured Carlos Alcaraz to the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings if he can crack the Grand Slam code in Melbourne and win his maiden major.
As long as Stefanos Tsitsipas does not win the championship, the World No 3 Ruud can potentially clinch the top rank by reaching the final.

Alexander Zverev battled past Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Australian Open.

The German, who was down two sets to one, responded to the challenge and defeated the World No. 103 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4 to record his first tour-level victory of the year.

During his semifinal match against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in June, Zverev tore several lateral ligaments in his right foot. He didn’t make his Tour debut until the United Cup last month.

The World No. 12 refused to give up against Varillas in his third match of the year as he battled to a win in four hours.

Zverev will next face either American Michael Mmoh or Frenchman Laurent Lokoli.
His best performance at the Australian Open is a semifinal finish in the tournament’s 2020 edition.

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