Holger Rune passes Thiem test with flying colours in Monte Carlo
World No 9 Holger Rune made it through a tough test of his credentials on clay as he defeated Dominic Thiem in his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The win allows Rune to break his duck on clay this season in his first match on the surface in 2023.
Rune has to feel that he could be on course for a second career title on clay after his championship run in Munich last season.
He looked imperious during his 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Austrian veteran on Wednesday.
Rune was thrilled to get the job done with minimum fuss considering the quality of the opponent he found across the net.
“It’s my first match back on clay so there were a few adjustments to make. But I’m all in all happy with how I handled the situation on court,” Rune said post-match.
Rune noted the importance of keeping good depth on his strokes at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
“Dominic already played a couple of matches [on clay],” Rune added.
“He’s a dangerous player. He can hit winners from anywhere in the court so I had to be sharp, move well and play well.”
In what is his third visit to Monte Carlo for the first clay court Masters of the season, Rune is through to the last 16 for the first time after being handed a seeding that afforded him a bye through the first round.
Rune’s level appeared to catch Thiem off-guard after he had looked in good touch when beating Richard Gasquet to secure his place in the Round of 32.
He controlled the contest well and despite feeling that he could have put Thiem under more pressure, Rune did not face a break point until he attempted to serve out the match at 5-4 up in the second set.
However, facing a 15/40 deficit, Rune produced a pair of massive serves to bring up deuce before clinching victory on his third match point in an extended final game.
“Of course there were a few moments at the end where I think he had maybe too much time to play,” Rune said.
“But I think all in all we played on my terms and I’m happy with how I controlled most of the match.”
Rune moves up one place to No 8 on the ATP LIVE Rankings but he may yet lose the position with Jannik Sinner breathing down his neck.
The 19-year-old Dane will take on the winner of the Round of 32 match between Matteo Berrettini and Francisco Cerundolo.
READ MORE: Holger Rune wants to ‘put on a show on court’ and hopes to be part of new Big Three
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