Four Americans left standing in Acapulco while Casper Ruud’s struggles continue

Casper Ruud in action Credit: Alamy
Casper Ruud in action Credit: Alamy

Twelve Americans made the main draw of the Mexican Open and four remain – all of them in the top half to assure an American finalist – while in the bottom half Casper Ruud suffered a shock defeat.

World No 5 Taylor Fritz is the highest-ranked American in the draw and he booked his place in the last eight with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov to set up a clash against compatriot Frances Tiafoe, who defeated Spanish wildcard Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

Tiafoe has dominated their head-to-head so far as he leads it 5-1 and Fritz knows there will always be “a little bit of extra pressure” when they play each other.

“Frances and I are really close friends, but we’re also rivals as well,” Fritz, who won their last meeting in the final of the Japan Open last year, said.

“We’ve played each other a lot and I know I usually approach it like any other match, but I feel like whenever we play there’s probably a little bit of extra pressure. I think both of us really want to beat the other one.”

The other all-American quarter-final will see Tommy Paul take on Mackenzie McDonald after they both came through matches against, you guessed it, their compatriots.

Seventh seed Paul was leading 6-4, 2-2 when compatriot Michael Mmoh retired while McDonald defeated Brandon Nakashima 6-2, 6-0.

With the withdrawal of top seed Carlos Alcaraz, world No 4 Ruud was the highest seed in the draw, but he exited in the second round as Taro Daniel claimed a 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) win in two hours and 58 minutes.

Daniel saved two match points to record his first-ever win over a top-10 opponent, although he did beat Novak Djokovic in 2018 when the Serbian had slipped to No 13 in the ATP Rankings.

“When I beat Djokovic it felt like he was not playing very well, but this time I felt like I was really playing against Casper at a high level—obviously he’s still coming back, he’s a bit rusty, but still I had to win it,” he said.

“It was a very physical battle, great atmosphere… yeah, so happy.”

For Ruud, the 2023 season results do not make for pretty reading as he lost his opening match at the ASB Classic, lost in the second round of the Australian Open and now lost in the second round of the Mexican Open.

Daniel will face eighth seed Alex De Minaur after the Australian defeated qualifier Jacopo Berrettini 6-1, 6-0.

Jacopo’s older brother Matteo, though, kept the Berrettini flag flying as he defeated Elias Elmer 6-3, 6-3 and his reward is a quarter-final clash against fourth seed Holger Rune, who secured a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Nuno Borges.

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