Holger Rune takes surprising WC after early Australian Open exit

Holger Rune will compete at the ATP 250 event in France next week

by Jovica Ilic
Holger Rune takes surprising WC after early Australian Open exit
© Morgan Hancock / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

World no. 8 Holger Rune has taken a wild card for the ATP 250 event in Montpellier following an early Australian Open defeat. Holger will compete in Montpellier for the second straight year from January 29, hoping for a good run after leaving Melbourne much earlier than expected.

Rune debuted in Montpellier a year ago, reaching the semi-final and falling to Maxime Cressy after a massive battle in three tight sets. The Dane faced world no. 122 Arthur Cazeux in the second round at Melbourne Park and experienced a heavy 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 loss in three hours and 22 minutes.

Cazaux played the match of his life to send a top-10 rival packing, introducing himself to the tennis world. Rune fell short in the pivotal moments, struggling with the pain in his knee and hoping to recover and chase the title at next week's indoor event.

Holger played well in the first round in Melbourne before falling to a rival who thundered from start to finish. Cazeux arrived in Melbourne with one ATP win and competed like much more experienced players.

Holger Rune will seek his first title of the season in Montpellier next week.

The Frenchman landed 18 aces, losing serve once and keeping the pressure on the Dane.

Holger did not play badly, getting broken three times but failing to erase the deficit following the rival's rock-solid performance. Arthur landed 50 winners and 30 unforced errors, attacking and taming his strokes. There were no breaks in the opening set, and they introduced a tie break.

Cazaux held his nerves and landed a smash winner at 5-3 for three set points. Arthur grabbed the breaker 7-4 and forged the advantage after 53 minutes. With a boost on his side, the Frenchman served well in the second set and secured one break to forge a massive advantage.

Cazaux broke in the first game at 15 and created more chances at 2-0, riding on a wave of confidence. Rune denied them and earned his opportunity in game four, wasting it after the rival's service winner and spraying a backhand error to push Cazaux 3-1 in front.

Arthur served for the set at 5-4 and created three set points with a smash winner.

Holger Rune, Australian Open 2024© Morgan Hancock / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Frenchman seized the third, opening two sets to love advantage after an hour and 41 minutes.

Rune took a medical timeout on his right knee after the third game of the third set. Holger served well in the rest of the set and held at love in game nine to keep the pressure on his opponent. Cazaux served to stay in the set at 4-5 and played his only loose service game of the match.

Rune earned a set point and seized it with a forehand down the line winner, reducing the deficit and prolonging his chances. Arthur made a fresh start in the fourth set and fired a stunning forehand crosscourt winner in the first game for an early advantage.

Holger's last chance on the return came in game eight after a powerful backhand that forced the rival's mistake. Cazaux denied it and blasted an ace down the T line for a hold and 5-3. The Frenchman forced the Dane's mistake in the ninth game and created a match point.

Arthur seized it with a backhand crosscourt winner, celebrating his career-best win and sending Holger packing.

Holger Rune Australian Open