Tennis: Ruud, Norrie, cruise into Indian Wells third round

Norway's Casper Ruud celebrates his straight set win over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS, United States - Third-seeded Casper Ruud and former champion Cameron Norrie reached the third round of the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 with straight sets victories on Friday.

For Ruud, a 6-2, 6-3 victory over former top-10 Argentinian Diego Schwartzman was a confidence-boosting win in a season in which he had so far failed to advance past the second round in three tour-level tournaments he had played.

For Norrie, however, a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Taiwanese qualifier Wu Tung-lin marked a continuation of the form that saw him reach finals last month in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro where he fell to Carlos Alcaraz in the first and beat Alcaraz in the second.

Schwartzman had won five of his eight prior meetings with Ruud, but the Norwegian, currently ranked fourth in the world, had little trouble against him on Friday, breaking him twice in the first set and once in the second to polish off the victory in an hour and 28 minutes.

“I lost to Diego here a couple of years ago so it was nice to get revenge,” said Ruud, a finalist at the French Open and US Open last year who was bundled out of the Australian Open in the second round in January.

Ruud said. “I’ve lost to him many times, so you really need to be focused and on your ‘A’ game. You need to play a lot of balls and you can’t do too many unforced errors he will beat you that way.

“The goal was to try to play heavy and sometimes kind of mix up a little bit, come to the net and luckily today somehow that went well for me.

“Typically, it doesn’t go so well when I go to the net but today was better,” added Ruud, who next faces Chile’s Cristian Garin, a 6-4, 6-0 winner over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

Second seeds Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aryna Sabalenka headlined the day’s action as seeded players launched their campaigns after first-round byes.

Greece’s Tsitsipas, who fell to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, faced Australian Jordan Thompson while Sabalenka, who lifted the Australian Open women’s trophy, took on Evgeniya Rodina.

In-form fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, brimming with confidence after winning three tournaments in three weeks at Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, opened the night session against American Brandon Nakashima. AFP

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