Young Holger Rune defeats Novak Djokovic at Italian Open quarter-finals
In a surprising turn of events, young tennis player Holger Rune has defeated top seed and 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the Italian Open. The Danish star’s win marks Djokovic’s earliest exit from the tournament since 2013.
Djokovic had been bidding for his seventh title in Rome as he prepared for the French Open, but his preparations have been hampered by injury. He missed the recent Madrid Open due to an elbow problem and returned to build up form and fitness.
Rune, ranked seventh, will now move on to play Norwegian fourth seed Casper Ruud in the semi-final. Despite being just 20 years old, Rune showed confidence in his shot-making and mental resilience throughout the match against Djokovic.
The Serb player’s chances were already shaky after struggling with injuries recently. During his opening wins against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Grigor Dimitrov, and British number one Cameron Norrie there were signs of tension during a tetchy last-16 match against Norrie before which he needed treatment for an injury that he was reluctant to discuss afterwards.
Although Djokovic managed to level-up on sets twice during this game with Rune after losing focus on set two over a line call going against him; even after rain forced them off-court for more than hour! But ultimately it wasn’t enough as Rune refocused at start of deciding set moving double break up for 3-0 lead then maintaining concentration serve out second straight victory over former world number one Serbian superstar!
This is bad news heading into the French Open for Djokovic. He has a chance to move ahead of Rafael Nadal as the most successful men’s tennis player in terms of major titles, but his recent performance raises concerns about his ability to compete at such a high level with ongoing injuries.
With Djokovic out and Nadal not playing because of injury, we’re set to have an unusual Rome men’s singles final without any participation from either one of these two legendary players. It’ll be interesting to see which player will rise up and take home the trophy.