AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Third-ranked Casper Ruud was eliminated in the second round of the ASB Tennis Classic by Laslo Djere 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Norwegian missed only four first serves in the opening set and put almost constant pressure on Djere. But things changed early in the second set when Ruud landed only three of eight first serves in his first two service games as the Serb broke to lead 3-1.
Djere also began to dictate on serve, hitting 16 aces in the second and third sets — nine in the decider.
The match was moved to an indoor court because of rain.
“It’s been some time since my last win over a top-10 player,” Djere said. “I’ve lost many in a row and I definitely fought hard for this one, coming from one set down and winning in the tiebreak in the third set.”
Second-seeded Cameron Norrie’s match stretched to almost six hours because of rain before he beat Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
Norrie was born in South Africa but grew up in Auckland before his family moved to Britain. He said his experience as a young spectator at the Auckland tournament enhanced his desire to be a professional tennis player.
Norrie has returned to his “home” tournament this year for the first time since he was a finalist in 2019 and took the court Wednesday as the tournament’s second-seeded player.
The match began before 1 p.m. and ended well after 6 p.m. and, after three rain breaks, had to be finished indoors.
“It’s nice to get this match out of the way,” Norrie said. “It’s tough on the concentration. Throughout the match we had to stop and start, we didn’t stay on the court and you’re constantly thinking whether you’re going to slip on the lines.
“It’s not easy and there was a bit of nerves in there. Obviously, coming back to New Zealand I wanted to play well in front of everyone. But Jiri’s a good player and so it was not easy.”
Third-seeded Diego Schwartzman was forced to retire with a groin injury after dropping the first set of his match against American player Jensen Brooksby.
Also, Marcos Giron beat J.J. Wolf 6-4, 6-4 and Richard Gasquet defeated Joao Sousa 7-6 (2), 6-2.
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