ATP

Ruud cruises into Buenos Aires quarter-finals, Isner through on home soil in Dallas

By Sports Desk February 10, 2022

Casper Ruud began his Argentina Open title tilt with an impressively routine defeat of Roberto Carballes Baena.

The Norwegian, who is the top seed, saw off his opponent 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash with home hopeful Federico Coria, who defeated Dusan Lajovic 4-6 7-5 6-4.

Ruud was taking to the court for the first time since being in ATP Cup action in early January, with ankle injury ruling him out of the Australian Open.

But on the scene of his maiden ATP title win in 2020, Ruud – who has won five tournaments since – looked in good shape.

"I feel, obviously, very good in Buenos Aires. I was a bit nervous coming back because it's the first time I have to defend a title," he said.

"Everything is a bit different since two years ago. When I won here it was a surprise. I was young.

"[This] was a good start. First time playing on clay in six months, so everything is a bit new again.

"Of course, I prefer to play on clay, but it takes some time to get used to the court and playing points."

Third seed Lorenzo Sonego also advanced through to the last eight in straight sets, the Italian beating Sebastian Baez 6-3 6-3 to set up a meeting with Fernando Verdasco.

Unseeded Spaniard Verdasco, seeking an eighth career title, progressed thanks to a hard-fought 2-6 6-3 7-5 win over Thiago Monteiro.

At the Dallas Open, John Isner won his opening match on home soil with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-5) victory over Kevin Anderson.

Isner will next take on either Vasek Pospisil or Jurij Rodionov, with the qualifiers scheduled to meet on Thursday.

Marcos Giron and Jordan Thompson are also in the quarter-finals after seeing off Liam Broady and Brandan Nakashima respectively.

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    Alcaraz is being hailed as Spanish tennis' next big hope with Nadal nearing the end of a hugely decorated career, one that has seen him win 22 grand slam titles, two behind Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

    Alcaraz himself has claimed two grand slams at the age of 20, winning the US Open in 2022 before following it up by claiming Wimbledon glory the following year.

    Despite the comparisons, Krajicek hopes Alcaraz doesn't think too much about comparing himself with his countryman Nadal.

    "If he starts to think about it or live up to it or try to beat it, then it will hinder his career, I think, a little bit," said Krajicek, speaking to Stats Perform at the Rotterdam Open. "But no, his name is Carlos Alcaraz. He said it himself. And he's not a new Nadal.

    "Nadal is a legend. And he's going to do what he has to do. And I think by winning two grand slams, being number one, I don't think he [Alcaraz] feels any pressure or like, I have to do this or this.

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    Krajicek thinks Alcaraz's all-round game has the potential to take him to the top, if he hasn't reached it already.

    "I like everything about his game," Krajicek added. "I mean he's physically good, he's fast, I love his mentality on the court."

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    Krajicek pointed to Alcaraz's affection for the sport of tennis as a particularly infectious part of his game.

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    "It was one set all, and Alcaraz loses the point, but the point was unbelievable. And Alcaraz smiles to his box like, 'Wow, I just played a great point, and I love this game'.

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    At the age of 20, Alcaraz has already won Wimbledon and the US Open, becoming world number one in September 2022.

    He was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to kick off this year's grand slams, though, failing to win any of the three tournaments in which he has played in 2024.

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    "His potential is very high," Krajicek told Stats Perform. "I think he's the future number one.

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    Krajicek feels those two will lead the way for the next era of men's tennis, saying: "It's difficult to say who the next generation will be, but I think Alcaraz and Sinner will have a good rivalry. They already have played unbelievable matches.

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