Holger Rune overcomes Novak Djokovic and hostile crowd to win Paris Masters
Holger Rune will be a top ten player next week after producing the performance of his career to defeat Novak Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters.
Rune beat Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 but that scoreline doesn’t come close to encapsulating what was a dramatic match.
The Danish teenager saved 10 of the 12 break points he faced on a day when his booming serve sometimes served him well and was at others wayward.
His crunching double-handed backhands were too hot for Djokovic to handle and that has to be the highest compliment that can be paid to a player’s skill.
Having given up an early break in the decisive third set Rune battled back from 1-3 down and found himself serving for the match at 6-5.
He couldn’t have known that it would take fully 17 minutes for him to hold his serve in a match that had already stretched beyond two hours.
Holger Rune showed great character time and again in the match after looking like he might be blown away on what was certainly an overwhelming occasion.
The Dane held his own in the longer rallies of the match but might have found life easier had his serve been more accurate.
He was able to continuously dig deep as evidenced by the ten break points he saved.
Rune might have fallen to pieces after he double-faulted on his first match point but he found a way to win that crucial 12th game of the third set.
The Paris Masters win caps a fine ending to the season for Rune, who claimed his fifth top ten win in five days in the French capital.
Rune ended a 13-match winning streak for Djokovic both in Paris and on the ATP Tour and showed great resolve to do it.
At one point during that epic service game an uncouth member of the crowd shouted out during the Dane’s serve but he was able to win the point and inspired his own supporters in the crowd to find their voice.
He also got the bird from the Paris crowd when he allowed the shot clock to run down in that same game.
Djokovic had to receive treatment from the physio for an apparent thigh complaint which could have been little more than a cramp as he was soon moving well.
Holger Rune is the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986.
The crowd might have been hostile to Rune but Djokovic was gracious in defeat with the 19-year-old a frequent hitting partner for the Serbian on tour.
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