Year-end contenders Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz poised opening wons on Wednesday at the Swiss Indoors to stay in the thick of the fight for qualifying spots at the season wrapup.  

The second and third seeds here stand ninth (Fritz) and 10th (Ruud) in the 2023 points race to the eight-man event in Turin from November 12.

Ruud won the last six games as he stunned weekend Antwerp champion Alexander Bublik 7-6 (5), 6-2 to reach the second round here for the first time.

Fritz had his difficulties with Australian Max Purcell before clinching a 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) win in two hours.

Ruud said that he is not stressing over his possible return to the year-ender in Italy and is simply trying to enjoy the struggle with this week and next remaining in the ATP regular season.

“I don’t want to don’t want think too much about Turin,” the Norwegian said. 

“I’m enjoying the race and the competition. I’d love to qualify, I hope I can do that in the next two weeks.

“But I remain strong and am focusing on my matches.”

Fritz fought back while trailing Purcell 5-1 in the first-set tiebreaker and overcame the ignominy of losing serve while going for victory with a lead of a set and 5-4.

But Fritz escaped on his fourth match point, finishing with 12 aces among his 36 winners.

“I was lucky to win it, I did play some big points well in the important moments in the tiebreaker, ” the winner said.

“I came up clutch in the first set, serving and returning well. But I made it complicated for myself, got in my own way in the second set.

“But I was able to re-focus and play the perfect tiebreaker.”

Fritz, who stands provisional ninth in the race to next month’s eight-man ATP Finals in Turin, trails No. 8 Holger Rune by 90 ranking points.

He remains quietly confident over his chances of returning to the season wrapup for a second year in succession after reaching the semi-finals in Italy 11 months ago.

“There are definitely things I can work on. But I like where I am in the race.

“I have a decent chance if I can come up with big results over the next two weeks.”