Holger Rune wins a five-set thriller to get to the quarter-finals of the French Open 2023.
The sixth seed Holger Rune beat Francisco Cerundolo in a five-set thriller to advance to an all-Scandinavian French Open quarter-final against Casper Ruud.
Rune, 20, overcame dizziness and 73 unforced errors to win in just over four hours, aided by an incorrect umpire’s call on a double bounce.
On Court Suzanne Lenglen, the Dane won 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6 (10-7).
Ruud has previously had to fight hard to defeat Nicolas Jarry. 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5.
The unseeded Chilean put the 2022 Roland Garros runner-up, 24, to the test over three hours and 22 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
But that was nothing compared to the test Rune faced on his road to a rematch with the guy who defeated him in the quarter-finals last year.
Alexander Zverev, the 22nd seed from Germany, defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-4 6-3 in the evening session on Monday.
Zverev, 26, will compete against world number 49. Tomas Martin Etcheverry advanced to the final eight of a Grand Slam for the first time after defeating 27th seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 7-6 (10-8) 6-0 6-1.
Apart from Novak Djokovic, Etcheverry, 23, has yet to drop a set in the men’s event this year.
“I told myself to relax,” says Rune as he pushes deep to win.
Rune trailed 5-2 in the first set but cruised through the tie-break, only to give up an early break in the second, allowing Cerundolo to equalize.
Umpire Kader Nouni missed a double-bounce on Rune’s side and made a contentious hindering call against Cerundolo, who had stopped expecting to be given the point in the fourth game of the third set.
The enraged Argentine told the official he “had made a huge mistake” when Rune converted a break point awarded to him to break serve – and, despite dropping his own serve, the Dane broke again at 5-4 up to win the set.
Rune complained of dizziness early in the fourth set, calling a trainer midway through, and Cerundolo took full advantage to force a deciding.
Both players traded breaks near the end of the fifth, with Rune breaking as he was serving for the match, and the rollercoaster match ended in a champions’ tie-break.
That was equally tense, swinging one way then the other, including a Rune reflex drop-shot volley at the net that had both players beaming, before the Dane won.
“I had a heart-breaking loss in Australia where I had a situation where I could serve for the match and lost and ended up in a tie-break like this,” Ruud stated during his on-court interview.
“I told myself to relax, play tennis, and enjoy because moments like this stay with you whether you win or lose – you just go and enjoy, try your hardest to play your best, and I enjoy every moment.”
The match was the second marathon on Suzanne-Lenglen on Monday, following Beatriz Haddad Maia’s dramatic four-hour victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Jarry, who was in top form, pushed Ruud hard.
Jarry had never won a match at Roland Garros before this year, having been eliminated in the first round three times, but the 6ft 6in South American was a far more tenacious opponent for Ruud than a straight-sets defeat suggests.
Ruud’s expertise on the big stage ultimately paid off as he won important points at vital periods, including a first-set tie-break in which Jarry’s shot selection let him down on multiple occasions.
The world number four, who was defeated in last year’s final by 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, battled back from 4-1 and break point down to win the second set, boosted by Jarry’s overhead smash at set point.
Jarry, who defeated Ruud in three sets to win the Geneva Open last month, broke serve again in the third set but gave it right back and lost his serve again at 5-5 before the Norwegian served out victory.
“I felt physically fine – I was ready for more if we had to play more,” Ruud remarked after the win in an on-court interview.
“I was down a break in both the second and third sets, but I was able to stay in and neutralise his serve, winning the most important points of the match.”