Match Report

Rune saves 2 MPs vs. Dimitrov to complete Monte-Carlo double duty

Ruud, Humbert advance to set QF showdown
April 11, 2024
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Down but not out, Holger Rune saves two match points to topple Grigor Dimitrov in Monte-Carlo. By ATP Staff

Returning finalist Holger Rune put his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters campaign into overdrive on Thursday with a hard-fought double. The 20-year-old finished off a rain-delayed opening win against Sumit Nagal early in the day before returning to court to edge the in-form Grigor Dimitrov in a three-and-a-half-hour marathon, saving two match points at 5-6 in the final set.

The Dane's 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-6(2) victory, which levelled the pair's Lexus ATP Head2Head series at 2-2, set a new record for longest best-of-three match in Monte-Carlo history (since times started being recorded in 1991). Rune's reward is a Friday quarter-final showdown with Jannik Sinner, who beat Dimitrov in the Miami final last month.

"It was a great match," the seventh seed said in his on-court interview. "I thought I played a very good first set, it was very long, one-and-a-half hours. So it was tough physically. I had a match earlier today which was two sets, so I played five sets today actually, which is pretty brutal.

"To beat Grigor, who's played such a good season, and last season, and to get my revenge is a great feeling. I played very good and I'm happy to beat him."

Rune needed five set points to win the first-set tie-break and bravely saved two match points in a marathon 5-6 game in the final set. Dimitrov battled back from 40/0 in that game, forcing deuce with a disguised drop shot on a would-be overhead, but he had no answer for Rune's big hitting on his match points.


The Dane stormed out to a 4/0 lead in the decisive tie-break and wrapped up the win with aggressive hitting from the baseline. Rune saved seven of 10 break points in the match, according to Infosys ATP Stats, fighting deep into what was his fifth set of the day to avenge a defeat to Dimitrov in January's Brisbane final.

In addition to being the longest three-set match in Monte-Carlo's recorded history — edging out two three-hour, 29-minute matches (Coric vs. Munar, 2019 2R; Lapentti vs. Safin, 2009 2R) ‚ the Rune-Dimitrov marathon was the third-longest match of any kind at the ATP Masters 1000.

Longest Matches In Monte-Carlo History

Bruguera d. Becker, 1991 Final  4 hours, 12 minutes  Best of 5
Nadal d. Federer, 2006 Final 3 hours, 50 minutes   Best of 5
Rune d. Dimitrov, 2024 3R 3 hours, 30 minutes  Best of 3

The World No. 7 is down to No. 11 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings this week and must reach at least the semi-finals to avoid dropping out of the Top 10 of the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time since January 2023. To do that, he must beat Jannik Sinner in a rematch of last year's Monte-Carlo semis.

"It's going to be great. He's for sure the favourite at the moment. I have a winning [Lexus ATP Head2Head] record, 2-1, but let's see how it's going to be," said Rune, who was beaten by the Italian at last year's Nitto ATP Finals.

"He's been definitely the player that almost nobody can beat. I think only Carlos [Alcaraz] beat him this year so far, and he's the other greatest player this year. It's going to be a big challenge, especially after a long day today, so I'm going to recover and try to do my best."

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Later on Thursday evening, Casper Ruud and Ugo Humbert both advanced to set up a quarter-final showdown with big early implications in the PIF ATP Live Race To Turin.

Ruud defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2 without facing a break point, continuing his strong start to the clay season after a semi-final run last week in Estoril. Humbert closed the day's play with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 win against lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego, with the Frenchman fuelled by the backing of a boisterous crowd on Court des Princes.

Humbert, who saved nine of 10 break points, is up two places to ninth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Turin this week. He could leapfrog both Ruud and Hurkacz to enter the all-important top eight with a win against the Norwegian on Friday.

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