LONDON: Norway’s Casper Ruud plays a return against Ryan Peniston of Britain during their round-of-16 match of the ATP Championships at Queen’s Club.—AFP
LONDON: Norway’s Casper Ruud plays a return against Ryan Peniston of Britain during their round-of-16 match of the ATP Championships at Queen’s Club.—AFP

LONDON: French Open finalist Casper Ruud crashed out of the Queen’s grass-court tournament on Tuesday, beaten by British unknown Ryan Peniston in straight sets.

The 26-year-old Peniston, playing in his first ATP Tour main draw, won two tie-breaks to beat the world number five 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2).

Norwegian Ruud, a clay-court specialist, struggled with his timing throughout and also needed treatment on a hip after taking a tumble on the baseline.

Peniston, ranked 180th in the world, won five points in a row on his way to taking the first-set tie-break, not long after Ruud had slipped on set point.

Ruud took another tumble early in the second set but broke Peniston for the first time for 4-3, only for the home hope to hit straight back before completing the job in another tie-break.

Peniston, who has a Wimbledon wildcard, survived cancer as a baby before going on to join the professional tennis ranks after learning his trade in France and at the University of Memphis.

“I can’t really believe it, it feels like a dream,” he said. I didn’t get much sleep last night, it doesn’t feel real. I’ve been playing well. Obviously Casper is an unreal player, he did so well at the French Open so I knew it was a tough ask, but you have to step on the court knowing you’ve got a chance to win. So, that’s what I did.”

Defending champion Matteo Berrettini beat Britain’s Dan Evans 6-3, 6-3, restoring order after all four of the other top five seeds fell victim to first-round upsets.

The Italian, fresh from winning his sixth ATP Tour title in Stuttgart, claimed the 2021 Queen’s Club title before reaching the Wimbledon final, finishing the grass season with an 11-1 record.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka celebrated the news he has been handed a wildcard to Wimbledon with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5) win over American Frances Tiafoe.

Earlier, US player Sam Querrey beat fifth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwar­tzman 6-1, 6-4.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2022

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