Aneke Rune Opens Up: Holger's Emotional Triumph Over Novak Djokovic

Holger Rune took down Novak Djokovic in Rome last year

by Jovica Ilic
Aneke Rune Opens Up: Holger's Emotional Triumph Over Novak Djokovic
© Alex Pantling / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 7 Holger Rune will turn 21 this year. The young Dane is already a Masters 1000 champion and a proud collector of 14 top-10 wins. One of the most emotional ones came in last year's Rome quarter-final, with the 20-year-old dethroning Novak Djokovic en route to a place in the last four.

Holger's mother Aneke loves to see the fires in her son's eyes, especially when he battles against the rivals from the top. Holger's resistance and effort make her proud and encourage the entire team they are on the right path.

Aneke recalled Holger's clash against Novak at Foro Italico, labeling it as an emotional and notable win. Rune dethroned Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 19 minutes, beating the Serb for the second time at Masters 1000 events.

Holger Rune & Novak Djokovic, Rome 2023© Justin Setterfield / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic struggled physically, delivering two breaks and fighting well in the second set before losing ground in the decider.

Rune earned ten break chances and delivered five breaks enough to control the scoreboard in the sets he won and claim a notable victory. The Dane made a reliable start despite serving at 30% in the opener. Rune dropped six points in four games, saving two break points and mounting the pressure on Djokovic.

Holger dominated on the return, converting almost half of the points into two breaks and forging an early advantage. The 20-year-old was off to a brave start, attacking in the first game of the encounter and clinching a break with a backhand down the line winner.

Aneke Rune spoke about Holger's Rome Masters victory over Novak Djokovic.

Novak wasted two break points in the second game, missing a chance to erase the deficit before holding at love in the next one with a forehand winner.

Rune forged a 3-1 advantage with a backhand crosscourt winner in the fourth game and pushed strong on the return in the next one. The defending champion hit a loose forehand, losing serve for the second time and falling 4-1 behind.

Novak experienced more issues in the seventh game, denying a set point and reducing the deficit. Holger served for the set at 5-2 and fired a service winner, clinching the opener 6-2 in 38 minutes. Djokovic served better in the second set and waited for the return chances.

They came in the sixth game when he broke from 15-40 and forged a 4-2 advantage.

Rome Masters 2023© Justin Setterfield / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak served for the set at 5-3 and failed to bring it home, spraying a forehand error and keeping Holger in contention.

The rain sent them off the court in the tenth game, and Djokovic grabbed another break when they returned an hour later, wrapping up the set 6-4 with a forehand winner and forcing a decider. The young gun left that setback behind and raised his level in the final set.

Rune broke Djokovic in the first game, with the Serb losing energy and making too many mistakes. Novak experienced another blow in the third game, finding himself a double break behind and propelling Holger closer to the finish line.

Djokovic reduced the deficit to 4-1 with a service winner in game five and prolonged the duel with another hold at 2-4. The Dane served for the victory in game eight and faced a break point after a backhand error. The young gun saved it and fired a service winner for a match point.

Novak played a loose forehand to end his run in the quarter-final and push Holger into the last eight.

Novak Djokovic Holger Rune