Alexander Zverev held off fighting Finn Emil Ruusuvuori on Sunday in a patchy 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 win to struggle into the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters.

The German making a comeback after half a season out with an ankle injury in 2022, admitted he just scraped through against an aggressive opponent ranked 59th.

Relief was evident for Zverev, whose luck has never been strong in the Californian desert.

“I’ve lost 7-6 in the third set here the last two years,” he said. “I wanted to come out here and get the win.

“I was doing all I could, but Emil played better than me in the second set and much of the third.

“I’m happy I found a way to win.”

The Olympic champion needed two and three-quarter hours, saving nine of 13 break points and finishing with 25 winners and 48 unforced errors.

“Emil’s an incredibly tough opponent who can hit hard from both sides,” Zverev said. “I’m happy I managed to get it done somehow.

“I’m not paying my best and I thought he was, I’m happy to move forward.”


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