Roland Garros: Casper Ruud steps in and tops Zhizhen Zhang

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Roland Garros: Casper Ruud steps in and tops Zhizhen Zhang
Roland Garros: Casper Ruud steps in and tops Zhizhen Zhang

The last year's Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud is through into the last 26 for the second straight year in Paris. Casper took down Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen to remain on the title course.

Ruud claimed 16 points more than Zhang, starting all over after the opener and constructing his way toward the top. The Chinese fought well in three sets, staying in touch with the 4th seed in the shortest and most extended rallies but losing ground in the mid-range ones.

They created a similar number of break points, and the Norwegian played better in the crucial moments. Zhizhen scored three return games from ten opportunities, and Casper secured six breaks from 11 chances to emerge at the top.

They both hit 40 winners, and the Chinese sprayed more unforced errors, the element that cost him dearly. The Norwegian dropped 11 points behind the initial shot in sets three and four, and his rival could not follow that pace.

Casper Ruud ousted Zhizhen Zhang in the Roland Garros third round in four sets.

Zhang cracked a backhand down the line winner in the encounter's first game for a break and an early advantage. The lower-ranked player cemented it with a service winner in game two and forced Ruud's mistake in the fourth to open a 3-1 gap, doing everything right so far.

Casper saved two break points in the fifth game to avoid a more significant deficit. Zhang dismissed a break point in the sixth game with a forehand winner before missing a backhand two games later to bring Ruud back to 4-4.

Instead of building on that, Casper struggled on serve in the ninth game and sprayed a forehand error on the third break point to fall 5-4 behind. Zhizhen served for the set in game ten and offered his rival three break chances.

The Chinese denied them and seized the second set point to take the opener 6-4 after 53 minutes. The second set was more fluid, offering only one deuce. The Norwegian denied three break points with winners at 1-1 and forced the rival's mistake in the next one to deliver a break and move 3-1 in front.

Zhizhen painted a backhand down the line winner to pull the break back at love in the next game and return to the positive side. The Chinese held at love in games six and eight, landing another backhand down the line winner to lock the result at 4-4.

After a couple of great holds, Zhang experienced issues while serving to stay in the set at 4-5. Casper painted a forehand crosscourt winner to earn a break at love and wrap up the set 6-4, leveling the overall score after an hour and a half.

The last year's finalist was the only player on the court in the third set. Ruud barely lost a point behind the initial shot and grabbed five straight games to take it 6-1. Zhizhen hit a loose forehand in the fourth game to lose serve at love and fell 5-1 behind after a double fault.

Ruud clinched the set with a forehand winner in game seven, opening two sets to one advantage after an hour and 57 minutes. The Norwegian served well in the fourth set, finding the range and keeping the Chinese away from break points.

Zhang produced four fine holds and dropped serve in the fifth game after Ruud's forehand winner. The 4th seed served well by the end of the duel and emerged at the top with another forehand down the line winner at 5-4.

Roland Garros Casper Ruud Zhizhen Zhang

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