Japan Open updates: Casper Ruud falls, Tommy Paul moves on

(Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Maybe Casper Ruud has peaked already at just 24 years old. He was on a bit of a roll through July of this year and he had played in three Grand Slam finals in a little over a calendar year and also made the final of the Nitto ATP Finals in 2022. He also reached a career-high of No. 2 last year.

But since July, Casper Ruud just seems slightly off. He made the final of the Bastaad Open in July and since August he has made the quarterfinals in only one tournament, and he was ousted in the US Open in the second round after having to go five sets in the first round. Ruud is a good player, of course, but everything has to be working for him just right.

On Tuesday in the Japan Open, the issue wasn’t that Ruud played horribly but that his opponent, Marcos Giron, played unbelievably well. Giron won the match fairly easily 6-3 6-4. Giron had 9 aces and no double faults yet he also won almost half of his first serve return points (he won 24 of Casper Ruud’s 56 first serves).

Casper Ruud out in second round of Japan Open

Again, Ruud didn’t play poorly but he didn’t play perfectly and he needs to to win most of his high-level matches. Casper Ruud was also broken four times and won just 16 of his 50 first serves. Giron just overpowered him.

The loss for Ruud certainly hurt any hopes he had of making the Nitto ATP Finals. He was already 10th and needing to pick up a bunch of points to get to No. 8. Now, that seems rather hopeless.

Giron will move on to play Felix Auger-Aliassime. 8th-seeded Auger-Aliassime defeated Sebastian Ofner in the second round as the Canadian trounced the Austrian 6-4 6-1.

Fifth-seed Tommy Paul also had a relatively easy win over fellow American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 6-2. Paul will play the winner of the Ben Shelton and Jordan Thompson match on Tuesday. The winner of that match will play the winner of the Giron and Auger-Aliassime match.

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