Holger Rune on beating Novak Djokovic: ‘My career-best match’

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Holger Rune kicked off the 2022 season from outside the top-100. The Danish teenager needed less than an entire season to show his full potential, enter the top-10 and write history books. Rune won the first ATP title and almost cracked the top-30 by the US Open.

The best was yet to come for the teenager at the Paris Masters, defeating five straight top-10 opponents and earning his place in tennis history. Competing as a top-20 player for the first time, Holger entered the Paris Masters as one of the dark horses.

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Preserving enough energy after a couple of challenging weeks, the Dane went all the way to score six victories and become the fourth-youngest Masters 1000 champion! Holger could have hit the exit door in the first round, trailing 6-4, 5-4, 40-15 against Stan Wawrinka and fending off three match points in a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 triumph.

Novak Djokovic

With a boost on his side, Rune delivered five consecutive top-10 victories and became the first player to achieve that at a single ATP tournament! Rune toppled world no. 10 Hubert Hurkacz 7-5, 6-1 in the second round and beat world no.

9 Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-5 after fending off all six break points. Holger led 6-3, 6-6 against world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-final before the Spaniard retired in the tie break due to an abdominal injury. Rune met Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-final and played a flawless match for a place in the title clash.

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The Dane beat the Canadian 6-4, 6-2. He never faced a break point and collected three breaks of serve to set the clash against a six-time champion Novak Djokovic! It was Holger’s fifth consecutive top-10 rival and the most challenging one.

Holger Rune scored five top-10 victories at the Paris Masters.

Rune came to Paris with only three Masters 1000 wins under his belt. A couple of days later, he faced a 38-time winner at one of his favorite tournaments. Eager to show his best tennis, Holger prevailed over Novak 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 33 minutes for his first Masters 1000 crown and a place in the top-10 at 19!

Novak Djokovic 

Rune defended ten out of 12 break points, including six in the encounter’s last game while serving for the title! Also, Novak led 3-1, 40-30 in the decider. However, it was not enough to carry him over the top and secure another Masters 1000 trophy.

Holger landed 43 winners and 33 unforced errors and outplayed Novak in the baseline exchanges. Djokovic served well in the opener, dropping five points in five service games and delivering a break in game four after the rival’s double faults.

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Novak wrapped up the set in game nine and created break chances at the start of the second. Rune fended them off and scored his first break in game two for an early advantage. The young gun served well in the rest of the set and closed it 6-3 to introduce a decider after 80 minutes.

Novak Djokovic

Novak started all over and broke Holger in game four, looking good to extend his streak in the Masters 1000 finals after winning the opener! The Serb served in the next one and squandered a game point that could have pushed him 4-1 ahead.

Instead, Rune broke back with a forehand crosscourt winner and leveled the score at 3-3 on his serve. The youngster held after deuces in game eight for 4-4 and created a break chance in game 11 after Djokovic’s loose backhand.

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Novak placed a forehand wide to lose serve and fall 6-5 behind. The 12th game saw a 17-minute roller coaster, and Djokovic created six break points in his last push to extend the battle. Rune saved them with brave hitting and seized the second match point to celebrate his first Masters 1000 crown.

“It was a crazy match. I was super nervous before it started, being my biggest final. I faced Novak, an experienced and formidable opponent. It was super tough, but I took the challenge and gave everything I had. Beating Novak was a massive boost for me, especially in the final.

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I had a great tournament overall, and the Djokovic clash was probably my career-best one,” Holger Rune said.

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