Novak Djokovic: 'I had my chances against Holger Rune'

Tennis - Rune defeated Djokovic at the Paris Masters for his first Masters 1000 crown

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic: 'I had my chances against Holger Rune'

Novak Djokovic fought for his seventh Paris Masters title and the 39th Masters 1000 trophy against the young Dane Holger Rune. After a thrilling clash, the youth toppled the experience, as Holger prevailed 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.

Novak had his chances to seal the deal and emerge at the top, creating three break chances at the start of the second set and squandering a game point that could have pushed him 4-1 in front in the decider. Also, the Serb made one last push while trailing 6-5 in the final set, creating six break chances in game 12 but wasting them to push the young gun over the top.

Djokovic won five points more, but not the crucial ones. Holger erased ten out of 12 break chances to remain competitive and converted all three break chances to cross the finish line first. The Dane played aggressive tennis and fired 43 winners and 33 unforced errors.

Novak dominated with his first serve and hit more service winners than Holger. However, the youngster climbed back in the more extended baseline exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and staying focused when it mattered the most.

Novak dropped five points in five service games of the opening set for a reliable start. He broke Holger in game four after the rival's double faults and served well for 6-3.

Novak Djokovic lost the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune.

Rune fended off all three break chances in the second set and grabbed his only opportunity on the return to stay competitive and introduce a decider.

The Dane broke in game two and controlled the pace in the remaining service games for 6-3, gathering a boost and presenting the final set after an hour and 20 minutes. Novak broke in the fourth game and had a chance to move 4-1 up in the next one.

Instead, Holger extended that game with a backhand down the line winner and broke back for more drama. Djokovic sprayed a forehand mistake in the 11th game to fall 6-5 behind and allow the rival to serve for the title. The 12th game saw a real roller coaster, and Novak created six break points that could have prolonged the battle.

After challenging 17 minutes, Rune saved them and seized the second match point to become the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986. "What impresses me the most about Holger is his fighting spirit. He stayed composed mentally until the last shot.

Showing this composure and maturity in a big match like this at his age is very impressive. Holger defeated five top-10 players, and this is a week of his life. I had my chances in every set, but he came as a deserved winner.

I did not use a 40-0 lead at the start of the second set, and those were the moments where the match went one way or another. I would have had a nice chance of beating him had I grabbed a break, but he managed to turn it around.

The crowd got on his side and lifted him up. It was an exciting battle, and I squandered the advantage in the decider. Holger was brave and went for his shots. I was not active enough with my feet, with uncharacteristic mistakes in the crucial moments," Novak Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic Holger Rune Paris Masters