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Ruud, Rune lead Viking charge into last 16 at French Open

PARIS — Norway’s Casper Ruud and Denmark’s Holger Rune led a Viking charge into the last 16 of the French Open with impressive wins at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Eighth seed Ruud battled back to beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego to take his place in the fourth round in Paris for the first time having reached round three for the past three years.

A little later, 19-year-old Danish Rune continued his sensational progress as he trounced France’s Hugo Gaston.

Things looked bad for Ruud when a fired-up Sonego won the third set 6-1 to move within a set of progressing, but the 23-year-old took control to win 6-2, 6-7(3), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Sonego threw the kitchen sink at Ruud as he hit back from losing the first set and ended up with 62 winners to Ruud’s 39 in the 3-1/2 hour duel.

But Ruud, who owns two claycourt titles this year, calmly weathered the storm and was the stronger player as he finished off the match in style.

He will face 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16.

“I just tried to think that it’s tough for someone to play this level over a longer period, and when it’s best-of-five sets there will always be some up-and-downs,” Ruud, the first Norwegian to reach the fourth round in Paris, told reporters.

“It’s tough to say if I did something different or not to change it, but I just knew at some point I was hoping his level would drop a little bit.”

Rune, who beat 14th seed Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the opening round and followed up with another comfortable win in round two, was too good for home hope Gaston.

The French Open debutant dominated from the word go as he chalked up a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

He will face Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas next. — Reuters

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