Holger Rune reveals how Novak Djokovic impressed him
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3220
Holger Rune made his US Open debut against Novak Djokovic in 2021! A teenager showed rich talent in the second set before falling 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1. Speaking about his first duel against the legend, Holger admitted he learned a lot from Novak.
The Dane felt impressed by the Serb's precision and ability to place balls on the lines regularly. An 18-year-old was among the youngsters to beat in 2021, claiming back-to-back Challenger titles a few weeks before the US Open and cracking the top-150.
Holger qualified for the main draw in New York and faced an ultimate challenge in the opening round. Rune gave his everything to stay in touch and claimed the second set to prolong the action. He faded from the court in sets three and four, struggling with cramps and propelling Djokovic over the top.
Novak fired 55 winners and 30 unforced errors, dealing with Holger and the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium and passing the first obstacle en route to potential tennis glory.
Holger Rune learned a lot from Novak Djokovic in their first duel.
The Serb blasted 17 aces and faced only three break points.
He lost serve two times and kept the pressure on the other side. Novak seized eight out of 14 break opportunities to sail into the second round and improve his score in the US Open first round to 16-0! The young gun netted a forehand in the encounter's second game to experience an instant break.
Djokovic produced four fine holds, scored the second break at 4-1 and held with an ace in the next one for 6-1 in no time. Holger broke at love in the second set's second game with a forehand down the line winner and forged a 3-0 advantage.
Novak bounced back and claimed four straight games to move in front. World no. 1 hit a double fault in the eighth game to lose the advantage, and the set went into a tie break. Rune grabbed the opening four points to build a massive advantage.
The Dane stayed calm and claimed it 7-5 with a service winner to gain a huge boost ahead of set number three. Starting all over, Novak served well and broke at 15 in game four when Holger hit a forehand long. Rune received a massage on his legs before the eighth game and lost serve and the set following a costly double fault.
Marching toward the finish line, the Serb stood strong behind the initial shot in the fourth set and produced two breaks that carried him over the top. Holger gave serve away in games two and four, and Novak held at love at 5-1 to seal the deal in style.
"For sure, there were many things surrounding that duel. My confidence rose throughout the match, as I had no idea I could compete at that level against Novak. I stayed competitive for one set, which was very impressive for me and my confidence.
Novak's game inspired me, especially his precision and the ability to place many balls on the line. There were so many things to learn from him," Holger Rune said.