Andy Murray hailed an ‘inspiration’ by Casper Ruud after San Diego Open defeat

Andy Murray and Ash Barty pay tribute to each other

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Andy Murray has been labelled an ‘inspiration’ by Casper Ruud after he defeated the former British number one. Murray lost to Ruud 7-5 6-4 in an hour and 49 minutes in the round of 16 at the San Diego Open.

The three-time Grand Slam champion was given a wildcard entry into the west coast tournament as he battles back from hip surgery among a number of injuries.

Murray battled through the first round as he defeated Denis Kudla in straight sets, tallying nine aces in doing so.

However, the 34-year-old met his match in Ruud, who further highlighted his impressive development with the win in San Diego.

Ruud, who defeated Reilly Opelka in his only Laver Cup involvement last Friday, has won four clay tournaments in Europe on tour this year.

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Despite beating him in San Diego, the Norwegian praised Murray for his perseverance as he embarks on another comeback from such serious setbacks. 

“On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game for the past decade or so, even what he’s done now for the past year, fighting his way back from very serious injury has been an inspiration for me,” Ruud said in his post-match interview on the court.

“For the previous 10 or 15 years, he’s been an inspiration to watch on TV, the way he fights and always finds a way to never give up.

“The way he plays has been amazing. 

“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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Murray’s comeback trail continues next week after he was handed another wild card for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. 

Meanwhile, Ruud faces ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter-final of the San Diego Open on Friday night after the Italian defeated American Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-3.

Elsewhere, Cam Norrie emerged from the battle of Britain’s two top-ranked male players as he defeated Dan Evans in straight sets.

Norrie won 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to advance to the last eight after brilliantly fighting from 5-2 down and saving two set points in the opener.

It is only the second meeting between the two British players, with Norrie defeating Evans in the first round of the Australian Open back in February.

Norrie will face world number 13 Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals of the San Diego Open on Friday afternoon.

The Canadian defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to advance.

Fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz lost to Russian star Aslan Karatsev 5-7 6-4 6-2, who will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. 

Dimitrov comfortably defeated August Holmgren 6-1 6-1 to book his place in the quarter-finals. 

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