On the British front an interesting day at the San Diego Open with all three Brits in second round action but only one able to progress into the quarter-finals, namely Cameron Norrie.
On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game,” Casper Ruud
Norrie, the British number two, recovered from a slow start to defeat his higher ranked compatriot, Dan Evans 7-6(3) 6-3 as he maintained his challenge to replace the Brummie as the top national player.
Then the world No.10 Casper Ruud, the second seed, proved too big a hurdled for Andy Murray to overcome but he didn’t concede a place in the last right lightly, going down 7-5 6-4.
In what was one of the early matches on the schedule, Norrie recovered from 2-5 down in the all-British clash which lasted just under two hours.
Evans, who took early control of the opening set saving a break point in the first game quickly established a 3-0 lead.
Even when Norrie got his side of the score-board moving, it looked as though the first set would be pocketed by Evans who moved 5-2 ahead only for the British No.2, to hit back saving two sets points, recover the break in the next game and go on to force a tie-break.
There Norrie dominated dropping just three points and then in the second, he captured the Evans serve to move 5-3 ahead, sealing his victory at his third attempt.
Next up for Norrie is Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian fourth seed who ousted American Taylor Fritz 7-6(7) 6-2.
Andy Murray’s bid to reach quarter-finals in consecutive weeks ended in the evening match against Norway’s Casper Ruud, the second seed.
The match was even at 5-all but turned when Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former No 1-ranked player who is now 109th, allowed the first set to slip away and then fell behind early in the second by dropping five consecutive games which included seven consecutive unforced errors.
“On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game,” said Ruud, a 22-year-old from Norway who is ranked a career-high No 10 and helped Team Europe win the Laver Cup last week, commented later.
Ruud called Murray “an inspiration” — both for the way he was a star of the sport in the past and the way he has fought to return from his hip problems. Murray’s run at a tournament in Metz, France, last week was his first ATP quarter-final appearance since October 2019.
But it’ll be Ruud who plays in that round Friday as he pursues what would be a tour-leading fifth title of the season.
Ruud faces Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, the ninth seed, who beat 21-year-old American Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-3.
Following te conclusion of Thursday’s play the quarter-final line-up reads as follows: Russia’s Andrey Rublev (1) vs Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman (6); Shapovalov (4) vs Norrie; Russia’s Aslan Karatsev who beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 5-7 6-4 6-2 vs Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, who eliminated Lucky Loser’ August Holmgren of the US 6-1 6-1, and Sonego (9) vs Ruud (2).
Meanwhile Andy Murray has accepted a wild card into the Indian Wells tournament which starts on October 4 where he will make his first appearance since 2017.
His best result at the California-based event was a semi-final in 2015.