The young Dane Holger Rune kicked off the season from outside the top-100. A teenager came to the verge of the top-30 by the US Open, playing well and gathering a boost ahead of the indoor swing. Holger embraced five tournaments within seven weeks and propelled himself into the top-10!
Rune lost the Sofia final before conquering the title in Stockholm over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Not stopping there, the young gun won four matches in the following week in Basel to advance into the title clash. Rune lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, earning 300 ATP points and cracking the top-20 for the first time.
Competing as a top-20 player for the first time, Holger entered the Paris Masters as one of the dark horses. Preserving enough energy, the Dane went all the way to score six victories and become the fourth-youngest Masters 1000 champion!
Holger could have hit the exit door in the first round, trailing 6-4, 5-4, 40-15 against Stan Wawrinka and fending off three match points in a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 triumph. With a boost on his side, Rune delivered five consecutive top-10 victories and became the first player to achieve that at a single ATP tournament!
Rune toppled world no. 10 Hubert Hurkacz 7-5, 6-1 in the second round, prevailing in the opener and dominating set number two for a place in the last 16. The Dane faced world no. 9 Andrey Rublev and earned a 6-4, 7-5 triumph after fending off all six break points.
Rune grabbed two breaks to emerge at the top and enter the last eight. Holger led 6-3, 6-6 against world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz before the Spaniard retired in the tie break due to an abdominal injury. Rune met Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-final and played a flawless match for a place in the title clash.
The Dane beat the Canadian 6-4, 6-2, never facing a break point and collecting three breaks of serve to set the clash against a six-time champion Novak Djokovic! It was Holger's fifth consecutive top-10 rival and the most challenging one.
Holger Rune scored five top-10 victories at the Paris Masters.
Rune came to Paris with only three Masters 1000 wins under his belt and was now facing a 38-time winner at one of his favorite tournaments. Eager to show his best tennis, Holger prevailed over Novak 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 33 minutes for his first Masters 1000 crown and a place in the top-10 at 19.
Thus, the Dane became the first player with five top-10 victories at a single tournament, enduring all the obstacles and lifting the trophy. Rune defended ten out of 12 break points, including six in the encounter's last game while serving for the title!
Also, Novak led 3-1, 40-30 in the decider, but it was not enough to carry him over the top. Holger landed 43 winners and 33 unforced errors and outplayed Novak in the baseline exchanges. Djokovic served well in the opener, dropping five points in five service games and delivering a break in game four after the rival's double faults.
Novak wrapped up the set in game nine and created break chances at the start of the second. Rune fended them off and scored his first break in game two for an early advantage. The young gun served well in the rest of the set and closed it 6-3 to introduce a decider after 80 minutes.
Novak started all over and broke Holger in game four, never losing a Masters 1000 final after winning the opening set! The Serb served in the next one and squandered a game point that could have pushed him 4-1 ahead. Instead, Rune broke back with a forehand crosscourt winner and leveled the score at 3-3 on his serve.
The youngster held after deuces in game eight for 4-4 and created a break chance in game 11 after Djokovic's loose backhand. Novak placed a forehand wide to lose serve and fall 6-5 behind. The 12th game saw a real roller coaster, and Djokovic created six break points in his last push to extend the battle.
Rune saved them with brave hitting and seized the second match point after 17 minutes to celebrate his first Masters 1000 crown.