French Open 2023: Holger Rune and Casper Ruud into last 16 after straightforward wins

Safely through: Casper Ruud is into the fourth round at Roland Garros  (Getty Images)
Safely through: Casper Ruud is into the fourth round at Roland Garros (Getty Images)

Scandinavian duo Casper Ruud and Holger Rune – both earmarked as potential challengers for the French Open title – were early qualifiers into the fourth round on Saturday.

No6 seed Rune, who has twice beaten Novak Djokovic on clay this season, looked at ease in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Argentina’s Genaro Alberto Olivieri.

Meanwhile, Ruud, ranked fourth in the men’s draw, had to recover from dropping the opening set on his way to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 win against Zhang Zhizhen.

Both Ruud and Rune, from Norway and Denmark respectively, have eased into the last 16 with very little attention on them, the focus in the men’s draw instead predominantly on Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.

Rune has had a relatively low-key passage into the second week after getting a walkover because of Gael Monfils’ injury in the previous round.

Of that additional rest, he said: “If you play the second match you keep the rhythm. You can get into the matches and try to work on your game every day.

“But on the other hand, I see it as a good thing [the missed match] because I get to rest my body fully and got a few more practice days to adjust things I wanted to do better.”

The 19-year-old has showed good form on clay this season in beating Djokovic en route to the final of the Italian Open, his final Roland Garros warm-up tournament, as well as being runner-up in Monaco and winning the Bavarian International.

In contrast, Ruud, a beaten finalist in Paris 12 months ago to the now injured and absent Rafael Nadal, has endured fluctuating fortunes on clay since the start of April. He won in Estoril but suffered early exits in Monaco, Barcelona and Madrid.

Going into the second week, he said: “I still don’t feel like I’m playing error free. I still feel like there are things I can improve, and I can make less errors than I have done in some moments in my matches.

“So, I still feel like there is a level that I haven’t played yet that I can bring out and I will need to bring out now going into the second week.”

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Alexander Zverev eliminated the last American standing in 12th seed Frances Tiafoe, bouncing back to win 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6.