Emil Ruusuvuori stayed cool and weathered a stern test from 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz to triumph 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in a first-round battle on Wednesday.
Making his debut at the Miami Open presented by Itau, 21-year-old Ruusuvuori fired 16 winners and broke Alcaraz’s serve three times to power into the second round. He will take on third seed Alexander Zverev next.
“It was decided by very few points, it was a very small difference [between us] today,” Ruusuvuori said. “In the end, he had a chance in the third, we both had our chances. But I was able to come back and somehow get the win. But it was a very difficult match. He was playing very well, and I’m just happy to get through.”
The Finnish player was competing in ITF events during the most recent edition of this Miami tournament in 2019, but has been steadily rising up the FedEx ATP Rankings to sit at a career-high No. 83.
Ruusuvuori kept big-hitting Alcaraz contained to only two winners in the opening set as he took the ball early and beat his opponent from the baseline. He wasted no time to take control of the set with an early break at 2-1, but the Spanish wild card roared back in the second set with two breaks of his own.
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Alcaraz surged in front with a 3-1 lead in the tightly-contested decider, but Ruusuvuori stayed calm and levelled the score with an emphatic break to love. He broke through once more late in the set to take a 6-5 lead, and closed out the victory after two hours and 13 minutes.
“He’s very young and very talented. A very good player [that] I’m sure we’re going to hear about a lot,” Ruusuvuori said. “So much power already at that age, he can do some serious damage. But somehow today I got the win.”
Elsewhere, qualifier Mackenzie McDonald set up an all-American second-round clash with No. 18 seed John Isner after a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Vasek Pospisil. Mikael Ymer also cruised past Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo 6-3, 6-1 to book a meeting with No. 27 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.