The 20-year-old Casper Ruud has earned the tenth ATP win of the season, ousting Daniel Evans 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 in two hours and 30 minutes in the battle of the qualifiers. This was the first Masters 1000 triumph for the youngster who works at Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, fending off 11 out of 16 break points and overcoming a terrible second set to seal the deal with four straight games in the decider.
The opening set saw a marathon game with 11 deuces at 2-2 and a lot of excitement, as Ruud dug deep from 5-3 down to claim the last four games and steal the first set before that setback in the second when he faded from the court.
Trailing a break down in set number three, Casper grabbed the last four games to notch the first Masters 1000 win and make a great season an even better one. The 16th seed Marco Cecchinato needed some time to find the rhythm against the struggling Aussie Alex de Minaur before prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and 11 minutes, speeding up his game all the time to leave the youngster behind and make a winning start in front of the home crowd.
A qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas halted the 15th seed and Madrid quarter-finalist Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-1 in 61 minutes, losing only 11 points on serve and doing enough damage on the return to clinch four breaks and leave tired rival behind for the 47th Masters 1000 victory.
The 10th seed Fabio Fognini improved his mediocre score in Rome, toppling Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 22 minutes to extend the great run on clay this spring. After losing the opening four clashes with Jo, Fabio scored the second straight win, saving five out of six break points and securing three breaks from ten opportunities to move into the second round and come closer to the place in the top-10.
The Italian broke in the fourth game with a backhand down the line winner, saving a couple of break points in the next game to cement the advantage and settle into a nice rhythm. Tsonga saved three set points on serve at 2-5 and had a break chance in game nine, denied by a solid attack from Fognini who closed the opener after an entertaining rally for a 6-3 after 40 minutes.
Fabio raced into a 4-1 lead in set number two with a double break and closed the match with two winners in game ten to set the second-round clash with Radu Albot or Benoit Paire.