Millman set for Ruud challenge in Munich

·2-min read

Australian No.2 John Millman has taken advantage of his opponent's misfortune to book his first quarter-final place at an ATP Tour event this year in Munich's BMW Open .

Argentine Guido Pella was leading by a set (6-4) on Wednesday but, struggling with an adductor muscle problem, was forced to pull out in tears of pain and frustration when 2-0 down in the second set.

Pella, who's also suffered coronavirus this year, may have had no luck but Millman, one of the great never-say-die battlers on the circuit, merits a bit of a break after a tough season.

The Brisbane man had not got beyond the last-16 in any previous tournament this year, even though he had ended 2020 on a high with his maiden tour triumph in Kazakhstan and a quarter-final appearance in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the end of the year.

Having outlasted his rising compatriot Alexei Popyrin in a marathon opening round duel in Munich, No.8 seed Millman next faces another of the young guns in Norwegian Casper Ruud.

The 22-year-old Ruud, who defeated Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-2 6-3 later on Wednesday, reached the last-16 at this year's Australian Open and has since made the recent Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on clay.

On the other side of the draw, top seed and tournament favourite Alexander Zverev made an impressive start as he set out on the path towards a third Munich title to add to his 2017 and 2018 triumphs.

Zverev beat Lithuanian lucky loser Ricardas Berankis 6-2 6-4 in their second round encounter, cracking down six aces en route to disposing of the world No.89 in 87 minutes.

"I haven't played much tennis the past few weeks, so I know I'll need to improve for the next match," said Zverev, who confirmed he is now over his recent elbow injury.

"I've had success in the past and I feel good here. I've played well in the practice and hopefully I can do better on the match court."

The world No.6 will next face Ilya Ivashka in the quarter-finals after the Belarus overcame American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-2.