• Fri. May 26th, 2023

Holger Rune upsets Casper Ruud to secure Italian Open final spot

Holger Rune on his way to victory over Casper Ruud to reach the Italian Open final. AFP
Holger Rune on his way to victory over Casper Ruud to reach the Italian Open final. AFP

Holger Rune staged a remarkable comeback to secure a spot in the Italian Open final after defeating fourth seed Casper Ruud in a thrilling three-set match. 

Despite being a set and a break down, the 20-year-old Dane overhauled his opponent, who had previously reached the French Open final and had two semi-finals appearances in Rome. Rune, who caused a major upset by eliminating top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, displayed resilience and determination on the court. 

Rune’s opponent in the final would be determined from the match between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, which was delayed multiple times due to rain. The weather had been a persistent issue throughout the tournament, and the women’s final between Elena Rybakina and Anhelina Kalinina was also at risk of being affected by changing conditions.

The defeat marked Ruud’s first loss against Rune in their five clay-court encounters. Rune expressed that he relaxed and played freely when he believed the match was slipping away, which proved to be the turning point for his comeback. The young Dane credited his ability to raise his game at crucial moments during the tournament and acknowledged the difficulty of competing against top players.

Ruud claimed the tightly contested first set in a grinding 69 minutes, dominating the tiebreaker. Rune, known for occasional outbursts of temper, faced some challenges in the second set but regained his focus after a three-minute medical timeout for treatment on his right shoulder. From there, Rune surged forward, leveling the match and eventually winning in a light drizzle.

The victory propelled Rune to his eighth ATP final and his third of the season. He previously won the Paris Bercy tournament in November and finished as the runner-up in Monte Carlo in April. Ruud admitted his disappointment with his performance but acknowledged the intense and aggressive style of play exhibited by Rune.

As Rune prepared for the final, Ruud aimed to put the defeat behind him swiftly. Despite the loss, both players showcased their skills and displayed their love for clay-court tennis, engaging in memorable rallies throughout the match.

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