Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori sprung a surprise Thursday at the Astana Open as he downed top seed Aslan Karatsev 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals and continue his strong record at the ATP 250 event.
The 22-year-old, who enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Nur-Sultan last year, won 74 per cent (14/19) of his first-serve points and saved one set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break, before advancing after two hours and one minute.
“He is a great player,” Ruusuvuori said. “He has shown the whole world this year how he can play. He didn’t start the best today and I was able to get a little bit better start, but maybe I didn’t use my chances as well as I could. But to close it in two sets is the main thing.”
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The World No. 84 has advanced to semi-finals in Atlanta and Winston-Salem this season and also defeated then World No. 7 Alexander Zverev en route to the fourth round at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
Ruusuvori will next face eighth seed Ilya Ivashka in the quarter-finals and will try to gain revenge against the Belarusian, after falling to the World No. 52 in Winston-Salem last month.
“I like the conditions. It is a little bit slower and heavier than last year, so it changes it a little bit, but I still like it,” Ruusuvuori said. “Everything is familiar and the people are so nice. It is nice to come back.”
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Soonwoo Kwon also advanced, upsetting third seed Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-4 after one hour and 38 minutes to improve to 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head Series. The World No. 82 will face seventh seed Laslo Djere in the last eight.