Casper Ruud defeated Andy Murray in straight sets at ATP San Diego and proceeded to pay tribute to the Brit as an 'inspiration'.
The Norwegian, who had a starring role at the recent Laver Cup, eliminated the former World No. 1 in straight sets, 7-5 6-4, to secure his place in the quarter-finals of the event in southern California.
Murray came into the match fresh off beating American Denis Kudla in the first round, but he struggled badly on his serve and saw his delivery broken on five occasions as Ruud ruthlessly capitalised.
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The 34-year-old had been trying to secure his first win over a player ranked inside the world's top 10 in over a year, but Ruud was always too strong and managed to dictate much of the play from the back of the court.
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World No. 10 Ruud managed to ensure that Murray won just 51 per cent of his service points as he turned the tables on the three-time Grand Slam champion, who himself is renowned for his excellent return game.
After the match, Ruud paid tribute to Murray and called him an "inspiration" and "a legend of the game" for all that he has achieved.
“On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game [from] the past decade or so," Ruud said in his on-court interview.
Even what he’s done now the past [few] years, fighting his way back from a very serious injury, it’s been an inspiration for me.
"Also for the [past] 10, 15 years, he’s been an inspiration to watch on TV the way he fights and always finds a way to never give up.
"It’s been an unfortunate couple of years for him, but it’s great to see him back and I think he was playing at a high level today."
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The rising star from Norway will next take on ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego after the Italian defeated American Sebastian Korda in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, in one hour and 27 minutes.
There was some good news for Murray too, however, as it was announced that he had been handed a wildcard for Indian Wells.
The former world No. 1 has not played the Masters 1000 for several seasons, having spent the last few years carefully managing his return from injury.
Murray’s best showing in Indian Wells came back in 2015, when he made the semi-finals, and he will look to improve upon that as part of his rehabilitation and return to top-level tennis.
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