Rune Ousts Otte To Reach Maiden Tour Final
Holger Rune’s dream week at the BMW Open by American Express in Munich continued in style on Saturday as the 19-year-old Dane defeated home hope Oscar Otte, 6-4, 6-4, to reach a maiden ATP Tour final.
The #NextGenATP Dane had not won consecutive tour-level matches in 2022 prior to this week, but he made it four in a row in Munich by outmanoeuvring his opponent with more of the high-class all-court tennis that had already earned him a maiden Top 10 win over World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the second round at the ATP 250 event.
“It’s a pretty unreal feeling,” said Rune after becoming the third-youngest Munich finalist in the Open Era. “I didn’t expect this at all coming into this tournament, and I just took it match by match. Obviously, I had a tough draw, playing Zverev in the second round, but I knew it was going to be tough, so I was ready from the beginning, and I’m super happy to be in the final.”
Rune stuck with Otte in the first set after the World No. 62 had enjoyed a fast start and carved out a 4-1 lead early. The 19-year-old responded with five games in a row to storm back and take the set as he ramped up the pressure on the German’s serve-volley tactics. He was made to bide his time in a tight second set as the home crowd urged Otte on, but Rune clinched the decisive break when 5-4 ahead to set a championship match clash with Botic van de Zandschulp.
“It’s getting better and better, I’m improving every day, and this is what matters,” said Rune. “At the end I have some goals to be No. 1 in the world and you have to start somewhere, and I’m happy to be here in Munich.”
Rune has charged to his first Tour final without dropping a set, and the Dane was pleased with the way he had kept a calm head on his young shoulders when under pressure.
“I was pretty close [to losing a set] twice this tournament,” said Rune. “I was 4-1 down today and 5-2 in the first round [against Czech Jiri Lehecka]. I just tried to stay in the moment and stay calm, and this really helped me to get back from these kinds of positions. I was always focussed, and that’s what helped me."
Van de Zandschulp had earlier recovered from a disappointing opening set to defeat Miomir Kecmanovic and also reach his maiden ATP Tour final.
The eighth seed was impressive in dealing with damp conditions and a consistently high level from his in-form opponent as he clinched a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 semi-final victory to reach the championship match on debut at the ATP 250 event.
“I’m pretty tired,” said van de Zandschulp after prevailing in a two-hour, 52-minute encounter. “It was a long match, tough conditions, the court was so heavy, so I’m happy I made it through. It didn’t look like [I would] after the first set, so I’m really happy with the win.”
Although van de Zandschulp struggled at times for consistency, the Dutchman was delighted with how he had coped with the wet conditions that meant the centre court at the Iphitos Tennis Club played differently to during his quarter-final win over second seed Casper Ruud.
“I had to adjust a little bit,” said van de Zandschulp. “It was slower than yesterday, a lot heavier than yesterday, and he did better than me in the first. Second set I started to play better, smarter, and I’m happy I won 6-4 in the third.”
FOLLOW THIS WEEK'S ACTION
Kecmanovic started with all the confidence of a player who has won 22 tour-level matches in 2022. He broke van de Zandschulp three times on his way to the first set, as the Dutchman struggled to replicate the level that earned him a third Top 10 win over World No. 7 Ruud on Friday.
Van de Zandschulp found his feet but still needed a second-set tie-break to level the match despite twice having broken to forge ahead. The momentum appeared to be with the World No. 40, who broke early in the decider to carve out a 3-1 lead. Despite being immediately broken back again by a stubborn Kecmanovic, it was van de Zandschulp who secured another decisive break in the tenth game of the set, converting his second match point after Kecmanovic pushed a volley wide.
The win brings van de Zandschulp level at 1-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, with Kecmanovic having triumphed in the previous meeting between the two at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March.