Teens have taken the last two big events of the season. Two months after Carlos Alcaraz stormed to the US Open title, 19-year-old Holger Rune just added his name to the list of Paris Masters Indoors champion after putting a stunning run in France.
“It’s quite incredible,” said Rune. “To stay here with the trophy, it’s an amazing feeling. Something that was tough to expect, starting the week off having three match points down. Then now to be able to be here with this beautiful trophy is an absolutely amazing feeling.”
The Dane was up a set against Alcaraz in the quarters before the Spaniard had to retire with a ab muscle tear in the quarters. Then Saturday in the semifinals he ended Felix Auger-Aliassime’s 16-match win streak. And today, he snapped 6-time champion Novak Djokovic 13-match streak and ended the Serb’s hopes of a title defense.
Rune in total lost two sets during the week posting four wins over ATP Finals qualifiers and today rallied from a set down to defeat Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“It means everything to me, a perfect way to finish the week,” said Rune. “It’s a privilege to share the court with Novak.
Djokovic looked in form in the first (he was 30-0 when winning the first set of Masters finals) but dropped serve early in the second. Rune got into it to force a third but Djokovic regained control to lead 3-1. Rune would rebound again and his all-court game, led by his backhand, got him past the finish line.
“It was very emotional after the match. It’s probably the best feeling of my life, of my whole career,” added Rune. “It’s kind of a small dream come true, even though I have bigger dreams. It’s a really good step on the way to be able to play these kind of matches against one of the greatest players like Novak. To be able to win that last game was the biggest relief of my life. My stress level was very high, so I’m super happy to come through.”
Rune becomes the youngest Paris Masters champion since Boris Becker in 1986. And he’ll move to No. 10 in the rankings. He began the year outside the top 100. He’s won 19 of his last 21 matches and five straight against Top 10 players.
“I’m feeling lovely to be honest, it’s the best feeling,” he added. “If you told me four weeks ago, I would be Top 10, I would be like ‘What, sorry?’. Now I’m here and I’m super proud.”
Djokovic had also won 13 straight matches in Paris where he fell just short of a 7th title.
“Of course I’m disappointed with the loss today, but I was very close. It was just very few points that decided a winner,” said Djokovic.
“He stayed composed also mentally all the way to the last shot,” he said. “For somebody who is so young to show this composure and maturity in the big match like this is very impressive. He’s had a week of his life, I mean, winning against five Top 10 players, it’s quite impressive.”
Djokovic will now get a week off to ready for Turin, as will Rune who will now serve as an alternate.
“Good thing is that you have a day between every match in the group stage, so you have time to recover between each match, which is good,” Djokovic said of Turn.
“I played there last year, played really good tennis. Played semis, tight match against Zverev, who was the eventual champion. So I know that the conditions are different. The ball is flying more because it’s altitude. It’s quite fast. You’ve got to serve well. I’ll be there some days before to train, and hopefully be at my best.”
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