‘If it works against Novak, it works against anyone!’ Rune ignores Rome rain to defeat Djokovic and make semi-finals
Holger Rune beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 on Wednesday and will play the winner of the match between Norwegian Casper Ruud, the No 4 seed, and Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo, the No 24 seed, in the next round
Dane Holger Rune, the No 7 seed, defeated Serb Novak Djokovic, the top seed, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals of the Rome Masters at the Foro Italico on Wednesday.
Djokovic had won his last nine quarter-finals in Rome since losing to Tomas Berdych in 2013.
It was his 91st ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. His young opponent, meanwhile, was appearing in his third Masters 1000 quarter-final in his last six events, having gone on to win the title in Paris (beating Djokovic) and finishing as runner-up in Monte-Carlo (losing to Andrey Rublev).
Djokovic took painkillers during the second set, and was struggling with his forehand as well as on return.
Rune: Djokovic makes it so challenging for me
Rune is now 2-1 in his head-to-head with Djokovic having beaten him in Paris last year, and lost in four sets at the US Open in 2021.
“I’m trying to make it difficult for him,” Rune smiled in his press conference. “I think I’ve managed to do that now two times in a row, to make it difficult for him.
“But for sure he makes it very difficult for me also. It’s a good battle every time we play. I like to battle with him. He’s a great player to play because he makes it so challenging for me, which I find that nice because I can really see where I have to improve, what is working.
“If it’s working against Novak, it works against almost anybody. So I’m super happy with the win.”
Rune, ranked No 7, will play the winner of the match between Norwegian Casper Ruud, the No 4 seed, and Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo, the No 24 seed, next.
Ahead of his victory, the 20-year-old Dane won against French qualifier Arthur Fils (6-3, 6-3), Italian wildcard Fabio Fognini (6-4, 6-2) and Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin (6-4, 5-7, 6-4).
Djokovic, ranked No 1, beat Argentinian Tomas Martin Etcheverry (7-6 (5), 6-2), Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the No 26 seed (6-3, 4-6, 6-1) and No 13 seed Cameron Norrie (6-3, 6-4) in the previous rounds of the Italian Open.
Rome Masters, other last eight results (Foro Italico, clay, EUR 7.705.780, most recent results first):
- Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Borna Coric
- Yannick Hanfmann vs. Daniil Medvedev
- Casper Ruud vs. Francisco Cerundolo