Ruusuvuori Eliminates Karatsev At Astana Open

Emil Ruusuvuori (photo: Kazakhstan Tennis Federation)

NUR-SULTAN/STARNBERG, September 23, 2021

The quarterfinals of the Astana Open are set. Emil Ruusuvuori headlined Thursday’s second-round action of the ATP 250 hard-court tournament in Nur-Sultan by knocking out top seed Aslan Karatsev from Russia.

The World No. 84 from Finland, who who enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Kazakhstan’s capital city last year, capitalized on four of his eight break-point opportunities to secure a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory in just under two hours of play.

“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.”

The 22-year-old Helsinki native, a winner of the four singles titles on the ATP Challenger Tour, will next take on Ilya Ivashka from Belarus.

“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.”

Lajovic falls, Bublik survives scare

The tournament’s No. 3 also fell in the second round, as Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic lost 7-5, 6-4 to Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea. The 23-year-old withstood six aces and broke Lajovic’s serve three times to prevail after one hour and 36 minutes. Up next for Kwon will be another Serbian in person of Laslo Djere.

Alexander Bublik opened his home campaign with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Miomir Kecmanovic from Serbia. Despite a slow start, the second seed could rely on his service. Bublik fired 18 aces and won 89 per cent of his first-service points to advance after two hours and one minute.

“Conditions were different to the other courts, it was a bit faster. It broke my rhythm at the beginning but I found my way, held my nerves, started to serve well and get the win,” said Bublik, who enjoyed playing in front of his home crowd.

“Let’s put it this way: In America, American fans got me down, here fans from Kazakhstan brought me up. That’s part of the game. Thanks to the fans. They were cheering me up, giving me some good rhythm.”

Bublik will next be challenged by Carlos Taberner. The 24-year-old Spaniard also came back from a set deficit to fight past Egor Gerasimov from Belarus 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-5. The longest encounter of the day lasted three hours and 22 minutes.

In other action, James Duckworth upset No. 4 seed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 7-6(2), 6-3 to set an all-Australian quarterfinal with defending champion John Millman. The 29-year-old from Sydney didn’t face a break points and converted two of his own five break-point chances to succeed after 90 minutes.