Twice finalist Ruud overcomes Davidovich Fokina in early Roland Garros test

PARIS : Seventh seed Casper Ruud kept alive his hopes of reaching another French Open final by edging out unseeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(5) 1-6 6-3 4-6 6-3 in a testing second-round clash on Thursday.

After his last two trips to Roland Garros ended in losses to Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the final, the 25-year-old Norwegian looked well primed to break his Grand Slam duck at the claycourt major by winning titles on the surface in Barcelona and Geneva.

But that wining form seemed to go missing slightly against a tricky opponent in the 24-year-old Davidovich Fokina, who stayed within touching distance in a high-octane contest, before Ruud stepped up his game to go through.

Ruud won a tight opening set in a tie break and wobbled in the second before getting back on track in the next, seeking to avenge his third-round defeat by the same opponent on the red dirt of Paris three years ago.

Just as he was dragged to five sets in that match, Ruud found himself in a dogfight as the relentless Davidovich Fokina levelled up the contest, but he sealed a crucial break to surge ahead 3-2 in the decider and held his nerve from there to win.

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