17-Year-Old Rune Records First ATP Win In Santiago
The 17-year-old has been on a tear all year long, reaching three ITF World Tennis Tour finals and winning an ITF 15K trophy to start the season. After qualifying his way into an ATP Tour main draw for the first time earlier in the week, Rune sealed his first victory 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 19 minutes.
"It's a great feeling winning my first ATP match,” Rune told ATPTour.com. “I was playing very good and was very focussed on the court and didn’t make any bad decisions. I was controlling my game and my attitude. It made me super happy the way I carried the whole match and [gave] everything until the last point."
Rune, the current No. 1-ranked junior who won the boys’ title at Roland Garros in 2019, was up against a former junior World No. 1 in Baez. The Dane quickly established himself as the aggressor and earned the first of his 12 break opportunities in the second game of the match. Rune broke Baez four times and kept the Argentine qualifier under pressure on his way to a straight-sets win.
“I think it's something realistic to [aim to] be Top 100 at the end of the year,” said Rune, who currently sits at No. 410 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. “So far I'm doing good, I'm winning matches and trying to fight [for] every match. This year I [have only] lost three matches and my goal is to make it hard for my opponent.
“This week, I don't know what to expect. I'm not the favourite for the next match so I'm not saying I'm winning the whole thing. But if that happens it's great. I'm just taking it one match at a time.”
Indeed, Rune will face a big test against second seed Benoit Paire in his next match. The Danish teen is not superstitious, but he will likely continue to rock the same eye-catching hairstyle that he’s worn during his run in Santiago.
"It feels good having it like this. So far it's going good, so why not keep it,” Rune explained. “I'm not superstitious in any way, but it's nice because my hair was growing a lot and I thought I don't like playing with [a] hat. So I did this."
Joining Rune in the second round are seventh seed Federico Coria and eighth seed Federico Delbonis. Coria celebrated his 29th birthday with a three-hour marathon comeback against Gianluca Mager, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(4), while Delbonis also advanced after a lengthy battle against Jaume Munar, needing two hours and 49 minutes to take down the Spaniard 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4.
Elsewhere, Cordoba Open champion Juan Manuel Cerundolo escaped from a 1-4 deficit in the opening set against fellow wild card Gonzalo Lama. The 19-year-old bounced back empathically to close out the match 7-5, 6-2. Andrej Martin overpowered Buenos Aires finalist Francisco Cerundolo in a one-sided victory, 6-1, 6-2, while Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo returned to the second round in Santiago after a 6-1, 0-6, 6-4 win against Jozef Kovalik.