Qualifier Struff beats Ruud, reaches Monte Carlo quarters


MONACO (AP) – German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff took another step in his comeback from an injury as he upset fourth-seeded Casper Ruud 6-1, 7-6 (6) to reach the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.

Having been ranked 29th, Struff dropped as low as as No. 168 after sustaining a foot fracture last year during a match in Miami, an injury that left him sidelined for more than two months.

Struff has enjoyed a good start to the season and returned to the Top 100 last month but had not beaten anyone in the Top 10 since June 2021, His aggressive style of play resulted in 37 winners and 23 points won at the net against Ruud, who dropped his serve four times.

Struff ended Ruud’s nine-match winning streak on clay. The 2022 French Open runner-up had won his past two tournaments on the surface, in Gstaad last July and in Estoril last week.

Struff will next be up against 2021 runner-up Andrey Rublev, who beat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (4), 6-2 at the Country Club.

“We know each other too well. The first set was only mental. We didn’t show some tennis skills,” Rublev said. “But it was tough to show skills because the wind was really hard and the court was slippery and it was tough to do something.”

Also, two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 6-4 without dropping his serve.

Seventh-seeded Jannick Sinner came from behind and saved a match point to get past No. 10-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1.

Sinner trailed by a set and a break then came out on top of a 22-shot rally when down 6-5 in the tiebreaker to remain in the match. Hurkacz lost the next two points and threw his racket in anger, then totally lost his focus in the decider.

“Playing against him, I knew already from the beginning that it was very tough to get into the rhythm,” Sinner said. “I think he served incredible in the first one and a half sets, and when I broke him the first time the momentum changed a little bit.”

Sixth-seeded Holger Rune advanced to the quarterfinals without playing when Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to an injury. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic later takes on Lorenzo Musetti while third-seeded Daniil Medvedev plays 13th-seeded Alexander Zverev.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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