Qualifier Struff bounces Ruud; Berrettini WDs

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MONACO — Jan-Lennard Struff reached the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday with a 6-1, 7-6 (6) win over fourth-seeded Casper Ruud as the German qualifier took another step in his comeback from an injury.

Previously ranked 29th, Struff dropped as low as No. 168 after suffering 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 this year before taking on Ruud at the Country Club.

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 in July and in Estoril last week. Struff will next be up against Andrey Rublev or Karen Khachanov.

Seventh-seeded Jannik Sinner came from behind and saved a match point to get past No. 10-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1. Sixth-seeded Holger Rune advanced to the quarterfinals without playing when Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to an abdominal injury.

Sinner 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.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic later takes on Lorenzo Musetti while third-seeded Daniil Medvedev plays 13th-seeded Alexander Zverev.

Rafael Nadal and second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz pulled out of the tournament last week. Nadal has won the Monte Carlo title a record 11 times, including an Open era record streak of eight consecutive titles from 2005 to 2012. But the 22-time Grand Slam champion has been sidelined with a left hip flexor injury since the Australian Open.

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