PERTH: Emerging 21-year-old Casper Ruud continued his giant-killing run with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over world number 12 Fabio Fognini on Sunday, before Italy recovered to down Norway on day three of the ATP Cup.
Ruud levelled the Group D tie in Perth in just 66 minutes and then backed up alongside Viktor Durasovic in the deciding doubles only to be thwarted by Fognini and Simone Bolelli, who prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
Italy join surprise packets Norway with a 1-1 record so far after being swept by Russia in their opening tie on Friday.
Ruud, whose father Christian is Norway’s captain, has led his team’s surprising run, starting the season spectacularly after upsetting not only Fognini but big-serving American John Isner in his first wins over top-20 players.
“I’m very happy to beat my highest ranked player ever,” he said of Fognini.
“Coming out here and beating two top 20 players at the beginning of the year is great for my confidence.”
The world number 54 was in imperious form with an array of pinpoint shots on the baseline rattling a frustrated Fognini, who badly miscued several forehands.
Ruud broke twice to draw first blood and his accurate serving gave little chance of inroads for the Italian. He broke in the sixth game of the second set to grab a stranglehold en route to his second straight upset.
In the earlier singles match, Stefano Travaglia notched his first win of the season after comfortably beating Durasovic 6-1, 6-1 in 56 minutes.
The world number 84 took advantage of a misfiring Durasovic, who had 16 unforced errors in a horror first set. The one-sided contest continued with Travaglia giving Italy their first taste of victory.
The 28-year-old is representing Italy for the first time after replacing world number eight Matteo Berrettini, who withdrew from the tournament with an abdominal injury.
“It’s very important for me to play for Italy,” Travaglia said. “I tried to play every point at my best and I think I did it.”
Durasovic, ranked 332, has not won a set from two matches after winning just four games against American Taylor Fritz in his opener.
The Daniil Medvedev-led Russia take on the United States in the later Group D tie. -- AFP