Pascal Ratthe/Tennis Canada
The rain and grey skies that persisted all afternoon meant that Centre Court at IGA Stadium in Montréal could only offer one match to the fans who’d come to see the first round of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
Still, that one match was definitely worth it. Against eminent veteran Stan Wawrinka, Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland got the upper hand in three sets (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) and just over two hours (2:11) of intense tennis.
The 23-year-old Finn dominated the opening set, breaking early on and capitalizing on the three-time Grand Slam champion’s indecisive and often erratic game. In the second, Wawrinka found the power of his serve and legendary backhand down the line.
In the third set, the Swiss had an ill-timed lapse that allowed his young rival to rush in and punch his ticket to the second round, where he will collide with Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.
Ruusuvuori’s quickness, impeccable net play and meticulous first serves are what led him to victory.
“I’m very happy to have been able to beat my childhood idol,” he said. “Now, I hope this kind of success makes young people in Finland want to play tennis.”
On a neighbouring court, Alex Molcan of Slovakia held off American Mackenzie McDonald (7-6, 6-4).
In doubles, Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski defeated sixth seeds Tim Puetz of Germany and Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-3, 7-6 (4).