Fans at the China Open in Beijing this week could be forgiven for thinking they were at a UTS event instead, as Casper “The Ice Man” Ruud played Jan-Lennard “The Thunder” Struff in a rematch of their UTS Frankfurt by Builder.ai meeting.
Different format, same result, however, as The Ice Man prevailed 7-6 (5), 6-3 to move into the second round of the ATP 500 event.
The Ice Man keeps his cool in the face of big-hitting
The pair had met earlier this month in Group A of UTS Frankfurt by Builder.ai, where “The Thunder” was making his UTS debut as the home favourite.
It was not to be a successful debut, as Ruud handed the German has second loss of the day, all but snuffing out his Final Four hopes with a 3-1 win. In Beijing, it was a similar story.
The first set was as tight as can be, with Ruud winning it 7-5 in a tiebreaker. In the second, The Ice Man pulled away slightly, securing a crucial break and keeping his nose ahead for a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory.
Despite losing, The Thunder lived up to his nickname, crushing 40 winners across the one hour, 44 minute match, including six aces.
This was the pair’s fourth meeting on the ATP Tour, and the first time that Ruud has managed to win a set—let alone the match—against Struff.