Casper Ruud’s February training block began to pay dividends on Friday as the Norwegian began at the Indian Wells Masters with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of personal problem opponent Diego Schwartzman.
The Argentine came to the court with a 5-3 record against the Norseman but was overwhelmed as the third seed showed the result of his post-Australian Open work.
Ruud reached the third round after a bye and will face Cristian Garin, a 6-4, 6-0 winner over Yoshihito Nishikoa.
Schwartzman remains mired in a massive slump, having won just two matches since the US Open.
Ruud’s win avenged a straight set loss to the South American here two years ago.
“I’m very happy with the win. Straight sets might look comfortable but it never is.
“I had to play well and that’s what I did today. I’m happy to get through.
“After the February training block, I’m feeling a little better physically,” the Scandinavian winner said.
“At Acapulco (last month) I struggled with the humidity. But here it’s dryer and easier to move.
“I might not get my results right away, it may take time before I feel totally fresh and ready.
“Today I tried to focus on my own game, do what I needed to do.”
Ruud said that he had to overcome a slight decline in his second serve midway through his victory.
“Closing out matches for me has not always been that easy. This was a big match for me; it may not seem so in the second round.
“But every match is important, I’m happy to start here.”
Ruud advanced in 88 minutes with 21 winners and 19 unforced errors.