Home Favourite Davidovich Fokina Outlasts Rune In Late-Night Madrid Thriller
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina rode the support of his home crowd to a stirring upset of sixth seed Holger Rune on Sunday at the Mutua Madrid Open. With victory in a 7-6(1), 5-7, 7-6(5) battle of attrition, the Spaniard earned his fourth Top 10 win by outlasting Rune over the course of three hours, five minutes in Manolo Santana Stadium.
Both players received treatment during the dramatic match — Rune for his right wrist early on, and Davidovich Fokina for his upper leg area late — and struggled physically at times, but it was the Spaniard who summoned the energy in the decisive tie-break to progress to the last 16.
"Mentally and physically it was very hard," Davidovich Fokina said after the post-1 a.m. finish. "Rune is a very good player. It was always tough games and we had to stay focussed on every service, because you never know when you [can] have the break point.
"I had my chances in the third set too, but I had a lot of tension and I was a little bit anxious to finish the point," added the 23-year-old, who let slip a 5-3 lead in the decider before regrouping. "But I did well and I'm very happy."
Davidovich Fokina is bidding to advance to a second ATP Masters 1000 final after he earned two of his Top 10 wins in reaching the Monte-Carlo title match last season, beating Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini in Monaco.
After Rune saved a match point to beat Alexander Bublik in his Madrid debut on Friday, he threatened another escape one day after his 20th birthday. But despite forcing the tie-break from 3-5 in the final set, he ultimately saw his five-match winning streak come to an end, a run which began last week in his successful Munich title defence. Rune also saved four match points in last Sunday's Munich final to edge Botic van de Zandschulp.
The topsy-turvy Madrid match had a fittingly dramatic conclusion in the tie-break. After leading 3/1, Davidovich Fokina fell behind 3/4 only to battle back one final time to get over the line, finding just enough purchase on his groundstrokes to hit through Rune in the crucial moments.
Davidovich Fokina will meet Borna Coric in the last 16 after his 7-6(3), 6-3 win against 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz earlier on Sunday evening — a match in which the Croatian saved all three break points he faced. Davidovich Fokina would reach his fifth quarter-final of the season with victory in that matchup, with the biggest of those previous runs coming in Indian Wells.
He will hope some of the fans who stayed to support him deep into the night will be back for his next match.
"I felt that energy and I was like, 'OK, I don't want to go home. I want to win this game,'" he said of the crowd's influence. "It doesn't matter if I am cramping, doesn't matter if I have a lot of tension, but I want to win this match."
With the defeat, Rune fell to 8-2 on clay this season following his run to the Monte-Carlo final and his title triumph in Munich.