Italian Open: Holger Rune stuns Novak Djokovic to storm into semi-finals | Tennis News

Holger Rune caused a great upheaval in Italian Open as he defeated defending champion Novak Djokovic in a thrilling three-set battle. The 20-year-old Danish player secured his place in the semi-finals with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory over the world number one.
Rune had already outlasted Djokovic in three sets in the Paris Masters final last year, and he started the match in fine form. He got off to an impressive start by breaking Djokovic’s serve in the opener. Showing his aggressive style of play and using tricky drop shots, Rune quickly took a 4-1 lead.

Djokovic looked uncomfortable between the points and had already admitted to facing a physical problem the day before.
Despite missing a late opportunity to extend his lead, Rune managed to close out the first set, leaving some sections of the crowd in disbelief at Djokovic’s struggles as a six-time champion.
In the second set, Djokovic took a painkiller mid-game which seemed to re-energize him. The 35-year-old Serbian came roaring to life, breaking Rune’s serve and holding his own to take a 5-2 lead.

However, Rune’s composure was tested when he lost his temper following a line call from the chair umpire. Despite a fiery fightback and a break all his own, Rune eventually abandoned the set after a prolonged rain delay disrupted the momentum.
The decider began with fierce exchanges from both players, showcasing their ferocious striking abilities. However, it was Rune who capitalized on Djokovic’s serve, taking a 4-0 lead. Showing dominance on the court, Rune closed the game by winning her own service game in rare sunshine.
This loss means that Djokovic will give up his leading position to Carlos Alcaraz before Roland Garros.

Djokovic will now focus on the next Grand Slam tournament, where he will aim to win a record 23rd men’s singles title, putting him ahead of rival Rafael Nadal.
In other Italian Open matches, Casper Ruud and Francisco Cerundolo are set to face off in a later quarter-final. In the women’s draw, Paula Badosa will face 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, while reigning Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek is set to face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in a highly anticipated clash.
(With contributions from Reuters)


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