‘It’s fun to play like this!’ Rune makes second Masters final in raucous thriller against Sinner

Holger Rune edged out Jannik Sinner 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday and will play Russian Andrey Rublev, the No 5 seed, for the title

Holger Rune Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 15, 2023 Denmark’s Holger Rune reacts during his semi-final match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters •Semi-final • completed
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Dane Holger Rune, the No 6 seed, advanced to the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters by edging out Italian Jannik Sinner, the No 7 seed, 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 at Monte-Carlo Country Club on Saturday.

In just short of three hours – and with the apparently inevitable rain delay – Rune came back from a set down, playing out two more thrilling sets to move into the second Masters 1000 final of his career. The first one was the Rolex Paris Masters las November.

Rune, aged 19, is the first teenager to reach the Monte-Carlo final since Rafael Nadal in 2006!

He overcame not just his opponent but the weather conditions and a noisy crowd who were mostly behind the Italian – but he said afterwards that he had enjoyed battling all three.

“It was quite unbelievable – Jannik started firing, hitting a lot of winners, he’s been in great form for the last couple of months,” Rune said on court afterwards, “so I had to dig deep, find solutions, which I did very well.

“Not ideal weather to be playing in, in the beginning. It is what it is. It was an amazing crowd, actually, even though they were cheering for Jannik, I still think it’s fun to play like this.”

Rune loses first set of the week but comes back

Indeed, Sinner‘s form this season is sizzling – he had reached the final of three of his seven tournaments played so far this season, and he blazed out of the blocks to take the first set in a flash, the first set Rune had lost all week.

Rune went into the match leading their head-to-head 1-0 but in numbers only – Sinner had to retire with an ankle injury in their previous meeting, in the Sofia semi-finals last year.

The teenager was also the last Masters 1000 winner left in the draw following Taylor Fritz’s earlier defeat at the hands of Andrey Rublev – and he was two points away from the final on the Sinner serve at 5-4 in the decider.

He had to wait until two games later to wrap up the match, though.

Rune, ranked No 9, will play Russian Andrey Rublev, the No 5 seed, for the title.

The 19-year-old Dane won against Austrian wildcard Dominic Thiem (6-2, 6-4), Italian Matteo Berrettini (W/O) and Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No 3 seed (6-3, 6-4) ahead of his victory.

In the previous rounds of the Monte-Carlo tournament, Sinner, ranked No 8, beat Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (6-0, 3-1 ret.), Pole Hubert Hurkacz, the No 10 seed (3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1) and No 16 seed Lorenzo Musetti (6-2, 6-2).

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