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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday April 15, 2023

Holger Rune

Holger Rune rallied from a set down to take out Jannik Sinner in an electric semifinal in Monte-Carlo.

Photo Source: TTV

In recent weeks, Holger Rune has made no mistake about the fact that he wants to be in the conversation when it comes to the future of men’s tennis.

Tennis Express

The Dane stated that he’d like to be a part of a new Big Three right along with Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, and on Saturday in Monte-Carlo he put his money where his mouth is and engineered a dramatic three-set victory over Sinner to become the youngest finalist at the historic Monte-Carlos Masters since Rafael Nadal in 2006.

He did it with a fiery come-from-behind victory after dropping a lopsided opening set to the 21-year-old Italian, 6-1.

“He’s been in great form in the last couple of months,” Rune said after the win, which improves his lifetime record to 2-0 vs. Sinner. “I had to dig deep and find solutions, which I did very well.”

After a prolonged rain delay with Rune leading 3-0 in the second set, the 19-year-old Dane nearly lost his grip on the match when Sinner broke back with Rune serving for the match at 5-3. Sinner leveled the set at 5-all but Rune dramatically took the final two games of the set while simultaneously goading the crowd as they rooted fervently for Sinner.

He put his finger to his lips to shush the crowd, and when he drew admonishment from umpire Carlos Bernardes for riling them up, he continued on his course, cupping his ears when winning big points. He handled the chaos brilliantly, breaking the Italian to claim the second set, and in the final set he was the better player, rifling through his service games as Sinner hung on for dear life.

“It was an amazing crowd actually, even though they were cheering for Yannick, I still think it's fun to play like this,” Rune later said, adding:

"My relationship with the crowd was awesome, if you ask me," he said. "I think it was great. You had so much energy on the court, which is fun. I guess if you ask the crowd, I think they would prefer that than two guys looking down and doing nothing."

Sinner, who gave Rune an icy handshake after the match, didn’t want to talk about it afterwards.

“No, I don't want to comment,” he said.

There may not be bad blood, but there is certainly the makings of a heated rivalry between Rune and Sinner.

For his part, Sinner nearly got the job done, but was held back by his struggle to win first-serve points in the final two sets. He faced 14 break points across sets two and three, and won just 30 of 51 first-serve points.

The Italian saved five break points – three in the fourth game and another two in the eighth game – but Rune didn’t get frustrated. He continued to hold serve and when he got another chance with Sinner serving at 5-6, 30-40, he converted to close out the contest in two hours and 46 minutes.

The Dane improves to 11-8 lifetime against the Top 10, and 4-2 on clay with his win.

He will face Russia’s Andrey Rublev as he bids for his second Masters 1000 title in the last six months. Rune won his maiden Masters title in Paris last year, defeating five Top 10 players including Novak Djokovic in the final to raise the trophy.

Having won that title on one of the fastest hard court in the sport, Rune is proving versatile as well as lethal. Today’s win came on a muddy track, a slow clay court made even slower by an afternoon full of drizzle.

His victories shows that not only is he worthy of mention among the brightest young talents in the sport, he’s also good to go on any surface.

Rune lost his last meeting with Rublev in dramatic fashion, squandering two match points in a round of 16 clash at the Australian Open. He hopes – and believes – it will be different this time.

“It wasn't fun at all,” he said of that match. “I hope it's gonna be different for sure. It was very unlucky for me. I think we both made a great match and you know, small margins.”

The pair have split their two meetings overall.


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