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Danish teenager Rune makes history with stunning win over Djokovic to win Paris Masters title, breaks top 10
The 19-year-old came from a break down in the third to win his first Masters 1000 title and put himself as the first alternate for the ATP Finals in Turin
Six-time champion Djokovic led by a break in the final set but in a final game that lasted 17 minutes, the teenager held his nerve to clinch his first Masters 1000 title, his third title of the year and move into the world’s top 10 for the first time.
He’s the first man to beat five top 10 players in the same tournament and he’s now the first alternate for the ATP Finals in Turin, having started the year ranked No 103.
“Novak, I’ve been watching you since I was a little kid, practising with you, it’s a pleasure to share the court with you now,” an elated Rune said. “I can say definitely it’s my favourite tournament now. To my mum, my coach, Patrick (Mouratoglou), all my team, my agent, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Djokovic makes fast start
Chasing his 39th Masters 1000 title and his seventh Paris Masters crown, Djokovic made a fast start as he eased through the first set, timing the ball beautifully.
Rune was making mistakes, as so many do against the Serb when put under so much pressure and at 0-40 in the opening game of the second, he was in big trouble.
But as he did a couple of times in the week, Djokovic took his foot off the gas, giving back the break with a wayward forehand.
That was all the invitation Rune needed to get himself back into the match and the 19-year-old, who beat world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime on the way, hit back brilliantly to level.
Djokovic has lead in third, but can’t hold it
Typically, the Serb got his nose in front early in the third set when Rune double-faulted but the Dane hit back again with a forehand pass.
Djokovic continued to put Rune under pressure but the Dane came up with big serves and big plays when he needed them most, staying on level terms to 5-5.
At 30-0 Djokovic looked comfortable but Rune put the pressure on again and the mistakes came from the Djokovic racket, the 35-year-old missing a backhand to allow Rune to move ahead.
Serving for the match, there was tension, courage, break points – six of them – but Rune saved the lot and then, after double-faulting on his first match point, he fired a forehand pass at the feet of the advancing Djokovic, who could not get it back over the net.
Beaten Djokovic: “I’m proud of a great fight”
“Congratulations to you and your team and your family, you absolutely deserve the victory, what an amazing week you had,” he said to Rune. “I’m not happy that you beat me but on the other hand, I’m happy for you, I like your personality, you’re very dedicated and I’m sure the future is very bright for you and your team.
“I lost to a better opponent in the crucial moments but I am proud of a great fight. Some you win, some you lose, there’s always the next challenge to look up to. I’m very pleased with the performance.
Djokovic was the fifth top 10 player beaten by Rune this week. He beat Swiss Stan Wawrinka (4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3)), saving three match points, Pole Hubert Hurkacz, the No 10 seed (7-5, 6-1), Russian Andrey Rublev, the No 7 seed (6-4, 7-5), Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the top seed (6-3, 6-6 (1) ret.) and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the No 8 seed (6-4, 6-2) ahead of his victory.
Earlier in the tournament, Djokovic, ranked No 7, defeated American Maxime Cressy (7-6 (1), 6-4), Russian Karen Khachanov (6-4, 6-1), Italian Lorenzo Musetti (6-0, 6-3) and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the No 5 seed (6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (4)).