World number seven Casper Ruud overcomes 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, becoming the first player to secure a spot at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers quarterfinals, Thursday in Montreal.
The highest seed left in the singles men’s draw, Norwegian Casper Ruud, survived a marathon match against in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut to earn a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory after three hours and 18 minutes.
Speaking to Tennis Canada, Ruud said: “It’s a long day and a long match. I tried to make the most of my chances to get through it. It’s never easy against him.”
Following a hard-fought win, the fourth seed keeps his chances alive of winning a maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Montreal this week.
Small margins defined the high-quality encounter, which got interrupted for 68 minutes due to the rain in the Canadian city.
World No. 18 Bautista Agut arrived in Montreal fresh from contesting the Generali Open Kitzbuhel in Austria, where he claimed the 11th ATP title of his career.
Bringing his A-game to court on Thursday, the 34-year-old took the opener, prevailing in the tiebreak 7-6(4), winning 70 percent of his first-service points and 67 with his second to his rival 64/55, respectively.
As play resumed, both players maintained momentum into the second set; the parity between led to a second tiebreak, won by Ruud 7-6(4), who leveled the score one set apiece, forcing a decider.
The 23-year-old would wrap up the final set with a consistent triumph, recording his first win over the Spaniard in their third meeting at tour level.
Overall, the Oslo native fired 54 winners (10 aces), committing 39 unforced errors to his adversary’s 45 and 32, respectively.
Moreover, the 9-time ATP titlist won 72 percent of his first-service points compared to Bautista Agut’s 71 percent.
In addition, Norway’s number one racquet converted three of nine break point opportunities.
On Wednesday, all top seeds, Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, lost their opening matches in Montreal, something that had not happened at a Masters 1000 tournament since 1999 in Indian Wells.
As a result, Ruud, the highest seed left in the main draw, has become the favorite to lift the trophy on Sunday.
In that regard, he commented: “For the rest of the tournament, being the favorite doesn’t mean much. I’m going to have to keep fighting, regardless of the opponent or opponents.”
Sixth seed Auger-Aliassime and Ruud are even in their Head2Head meetings with one victory for each side.
They last faced one another at the Mutua Madrid Open last year, a match contested on clay and won by Ruud in straight sets.