Around this time last year, Holger Rune lost his first-ever Challenger Tour final, a year later he stunned second place at the 2021 French Open and Stefanos Tsitsipas fourth-seeded in the tournament to advance to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Most important points:
- Rune becomes the first Danish man to make the last eight at the French Open
- He and Carlos Alcaraz are the first pair of teenagers to make the quarterfinals of the men’s singles since 1994.
- Rune plays in quarterfinal against Casper Ruud
The 19-year-old Dane became the first man from his country to come this far in the clay grand slam with the 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
He did it with a performance that belied his age and experience, as he combined a mix of powerful foundations with agile drop shots to stun the Greek star during this year’s biggest disappointment in men’s singles.
Rune also showed nerves of steel to serve out the match on his second attempt.
He had led 5-2 in the fourth set, only for Tsitispas to close the gap to 5-4 and Rune had to ward off three more breakpoint chances on Tsitsipas with big serves before needing just one match point to take the win. to obtain.
Rune said that while he appeared outwardly calm – when he joined Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as the second teenager in the last eight, the first time that happened since 1994 – his nerves were ringing.
“I have an incredible feeling right now,” Rune told interviewer Marion Bartoli on the track.
“I was very nervous, but at the same time I know that if I got rid of the tactics against a player like Stefanos, I would definitely lose, so I told myself to just keep playing in the difficult moments and it worked so well at the end.”
Asked about the barrage of drop shots, Rune said it was part of the plan to disrupt Tsitsipas’ rhythm.
“I had to play really fast and take my time with him and I like to play the drop shot, so it’s fun to play and it worked quite well.”
For Tsitsipas, at age 23, the loss is yet another regrettable miss in a career in which the grand slams have largely not gone according to plan and would have been especially disappointing after reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2020 before reaching the final. last year in five sets lost to Novak Djokovic.
For the Greek, who had won the prestigious Monaco title for the second time a few weeks ago, the turning point came in the third set when a rare pair of double faults and two missed forehands gave Rune a break he wouldn’t give up as he took a two-set lead over one.
When asked about the rise of the youths Alcaraz and Rune and his recent losses to them, Tsitsipas reacted thoughtfully, but also said it would make him hungrier.
“It has to come someday, it comes to everyone, right? I’m not worried, I know my game,” he said.
“These kids will really want to hit me for hunting.
That payback won’t come on clay this year as Tsitsipas gears up to move on to the grass court season, having lost his last two first-round attempts at Wimbledon.
For Rune, however, a first grand slam quarter-finalist awaits in the Norwegian Casper Ruud.
Eighth-seeded Ruud defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 earlier on Monday in a relatively soft win over the 12th seed of the tournament.
Keys fall out
Madison Keys completely lost control after a brilliant opening set when she crashed out of the French Open on Monday in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 defeat to Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.
The 22nd seed, who was looking to become the third American in the last eight after Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff qualified on Sunday, was powerless against the heavy forehand of her 25-year-old opponent.
Keys raced through a one-sided opening set and looked to be heading for a comfortable win, but Kudermetova started to play more accurately and took command of second on the field Philippe Chatrier.
The Russian relied on her forehand to put Keys on the back foot and served for the set in no time. Keys saved six set points when Kudermetova showed signs of nervousness.
A good first serve saved her some blush on the seventh attempt and the Russian took the momentum to the decider.
A double break gave her a 4-1 lead in just 20 minutes and she took the next two games with ease to round it out when Keys made an unforced forehand error.
“I tried to trust myself, to believe. That was my key,” said 29th-seeded Kudermetova, who will face compatriot Daria Kasaktina in her first major singles quarterfinal.
“Sometimes I tried to play harder, sometimes with the spin, a little bit smarter. I did a fantastic job today.”
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