A week after playing a Masters 1000 final in Paris, Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune share the court again. The Serb and the Dane hit the practice court at the ATP Finals in Turin ahead of Novak's first match on Monday. Djokovic is seeking the sixth ATP Finals crown and the first since 2015, eager to topple the younger opponents and Rafael Nadal and finish the season on a high note.
On the other hand, the newly-promoted top-10 star Holger Rune came to Turin as the first alternate, hoping to replace someone and make a debut at the premium event at 19. A teenager wrote history books in Paris, beating five straight top-10 rivals and becoming the fourth-youngest Masters 1000 winner.
Holger defeated a six-time champion Novak 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, prevailing after two hours and 33 minutes for a massive achievement.
Novak Djokovic trained with Holger Rune in Turin.
Rune was on a roll during the indoor swing, winning 19 out of 21 matches in the previous four tournaments.
He used that momentum and confidence to overpower a great rival and lift a notable crown at a young age. Djokovic won five points more than Rune and created 12 break chances, six in the encounter's final game. Holger erased ten to remain competitive and seized all three break chances to emerge at the top.
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 to cross the finish line first.
Novak dropped five points in five service games in the opening set. He broke Holger in game four after the rival's double faults to build a 3-1 lead and served well for 6-3. 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.
Holger survived the first game and gained a boost. He broke Djokovic in game two and controlled the pace in the remaining service games for 6-3 and a decider after an hour and 20 minutes. Novak broke in the final set's fourth game and had a chance to move 4-1 up.
Holger extended that fifth 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 17 minutes, Rune saved them and seized the second match point to start an emotional celebration and become the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986.