Emil Ruusuvuori came back from the brink twice in quick succession to claim a remarkable first-round victory on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The Finn saved two match points before overcoming Ugo Humbert 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome. Despite Humbert serving on both occasions, Ruusuvuori fended off the first at 4-5, 40/30 in the third set before repeating his escape when trailing the Frenchman 5/6 in the deciding tie-break.

Ruusuvuori ultimately closed out a thrilling three-hour triumph, in which both players broke their opponent’s serve five times, to book a second-round appointment against third seed Daniil Medvedev. The World No. 43 is now 15-12 for the season, a tally which includes reaching his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final in Miami in March.

It was a third consecutive narrow victory for the Finn in his ATP Head2Head series with Humbert, who himself triumphed in a pair of marathon three-setters en route to the ATP Challenger Tour 175 title in Cagliari last week. Ruusuvuori triumphed in five sets in the duo’s maiden tour-level meeting at Roland Garros in 2022, before prevailing in a pair of tie-breaks against the Frenchman in Madrid just 15 days ago.


Albert Ramos-Vinolas also needed three sets to seal victory on Thursday. The Spaniard saved five of seven break points he faced to beat home wild card Francesco Passaro 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and reach the second round in Rome for the fifth time. He faces a tough challenge to equal his personal-best 2018 run to the third round at the Foro Italico, however, as he next takes on his countryman and second seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Lorenzo Sonego celebrated his 28th birthday by becoming the fifth Italian into the second round in Rome. The World No. 48, who reached the semi-finals at his home tournament in 2021, eased past Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-1. He will next face 25th seed Yoshihito Nishioka.