Rune defies injury, saves four match points to win Munich title for second year in a row

The Dane trailed Botic van de Zandschulp 5-2, 40-15 in the final set before recovering for victory

Holger Rune Munich trophy Holger Rune holding Munich trophy | © Matthias Schrader/AP/SIPA
BMW Open •Final • completed
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Top seed Holger Rune saved four match points and survived injury late on to beat Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, the No 4 seed, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (3) on Sunday to win the Munich title for the second year in a row.

In a repeat of last year’s final, Van de Zanschulp led 5-2, 40-15 in the final set and served for the match three times but couldn’t take his chances as Rune, despite seemingly struggling with a shoulder and then ankle injury, came back to snatch the final-set tiebreak 7-3 for his first title of 2023 and the fourth of his career.

“I feel awful, honestly,” said Rune, who missed out in the Monte-Carlo final last weekend. “But it is what it is, you know it’s the last match, the last push. It was a struggle but I’m glad to get the win. I was feeling really exhausted but I was fighting until the end.”

Rune fights off injury concerns to win again

Chasing his first ATP Tour title, Van de Zandschulp looked to be pulling away in the third set when Rune had a medical timeout for a shoulder issue.

The Dutchman still managed to open up a 5-2, lead and led 40-15 on his own serve but the nerves kicked in at that stage and Rune began to fight back.

The Dane broke back and then again at 5-4, despite turning his ankle and not being allowed to have it taped until the next changeover. “It’s f***ing insane,” Rune said at the time.

But the 19-year-old kept on fighting and though Van de Zandschulp broke again to serve for the match for a third time at 6-5, and though he held two more match points, he just could not get over the line.

Once Rune broke for 6-6, there only looked like being one winner and the Dane won the tiebreak 7-3 to seal victory.

Earlier in the tournament, Rune, ranked No 7, beat German wildcard Yannick Hanfmann (6-3, 6-4), Chilean Cristian Garin (6-2, 6-4) and Australian Christopher O’Connell (6-3, 6-2).

Van De Zandschulp, ranked No 29, defeated Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev (6-2, 6-0), American Marcos Giron (7-6 (5), 6-3) and American Taylor Fritz, the second seed (6-4, 7-6 (2)) in the previous rounds of the Munich Open.

Van de Zandschulp rues missed opportunity

Van de Zanschulp admitted this was going to take some getting over.

“Congrats to Holger, to win the title again this year, beating me in the final again (Van de Zandschulp quit through injury in last year’s final). This is probably more painful than last year.”

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