Rune Rules In Paris! Dane Stuns Djokovic
Holger Rune’s rapid rise hit a new milestone Sunday at the Rolex Paris Masters, where the 19-year-old staged a stunning comeback to down six-time Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and clinch his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown.
Having dropped the first set, the #NextGenATP Dane recovered from 0/40 in the opening game of the second and a 1-3 deficit in the third, saving six break points in the final game as he dug deep to defeat Djokovic and claim the biggest title of his young career in dramatic fashion.
"It means everything to me, a perfect way to finish the week," said Rune. "It's a privilege to share the court with Novak."
In a head-spinning rise for the teen this week, Rune surges to 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and will serve as first alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals (13-20 November). As a result, he has withdrawn from next week's Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Holger Rune celebrates with his team in Paris. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour.
Rune was playing in his fourth consecutive ATP Tour final and has now won 19 of his past 21 matches. The Dane’s title run in Paris will also lift him to a career-high No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.
“I’m feeling lovely to be honest, it’s the best feeling,” said Rune. “If you told me four weeks ago, I would be Top 10… I would be like ‘What, sorry?’. Now I’m here and I’m super proud.”
The win against Djokovic also made it five Top 10 wins in as many days for Rune, who moved past Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach his first Masters 1000 final. Those victories followed a thrilling first-round win in which he saved three match points against Stan Wawrinka, and Rune was delighted to have held his nerve in another nail-biting clash against Djokovic.
"It was the most stressful game of my life," said the Dane of the marathon 12th game of the third set. "My heart was almost in my brain. I was already starting to think about the tie-break. I'm very proud I could finish it."
It is the first time Djokovic has lost in 31 Masters 1000 finals when he has won the first set. While Rune's all-around game has excelled across his recent run, his ability to compete against the Serbian’s renowned backhand was key to his remarkable final recovery. The Dane struck 17 winners off that wing to Djokovic’s six in his two-hour, 33-minute victory, and the disparity is reflected in Tennis Data Innovation’s INSIGHTS Backhand Quality analysis for the match.
Rune had shown no sign of nerves in snapping Felix Auger-Aliassime’s 16-match unbeaten run in the semi-finals in Paris, but the 19-year-old made a tense start to his maiden Masters 1000 final. Back-to-back double-faults from the Dane handed Djokovic an early break for 2-1, and the Serbian dialled in behind his groundstrokes to ease to the opening set.
Djokovic appeared to be in command when he immediately opened a 0/40 lead in the opening game of the second set, but a series of points completely changed the momentum of the match. Djokovic uncharacteristically sent a backhand pass long after a weak Rune approach, before the Dane demonstrated high-class defence and some confident shotmaking to complete the escape.
The importance of the Dane’s recovery was immediately emphasised as he converted his first break point of the match in the next game after Djokovic pushed a forehand wide. Rune began to dictate play effectively with his backhand and confidently held onto his lead to force a deciding set.
After breaking for 6-5 in the deciding set, Rune showed his mettle to fend off six break points as Djokovic refused to lay down in pursuit of his 39th Masters 1000 title. The Dane stayed cool to finally clinch a stunning victory in a raucous atmosphere on his second championship point to become the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986.