What many expected to be a down week on the tour with two 250s before the major part of the clay swing began actually turned out to be quite special, with both tournaments won by last year’s NextGen finalists. Holger Rune took the title in Munich after Botic Van De Zandschulp retired from the final and Sebastian Baez became Estoril champion after defeating Frances Tiafoe. The pair not only won their first ATP titles this week, they are also set to make their Top 50 debuts on Monday.
As many Munich champions before him, the 19-year-old got to wear the traditional lederhosen during Sunday’s trophy ceremony, though Rune almost certainly played in the shortest final leading up to it. His opponent, Botic Van De Zandschulp, could only play seven games before being forced to retire from the match due to injury.
Rune’s road to lederhosen
Rune’s road to the final was impressive, though. Entering the tournament as a wild card, right off the bat he faced likely the most dangerous qualifier in the draw, Jiri Lehecka. Rune dismissed his peer in a 7-6 6-3 victory, the most games he would drop all week in a single match. The Dane then obtained the first Top 10 win of his career, allowing the top seed and World No. 3 Alexander Zverev only five games in the second round. Rune kept up his form and beat Emil Ruusuvuori 6-0 6-2 in the quarterfinal, taking just over an hour. The 19-year-old was now further than he had ever been before at a Tour-level event.
The nerves were there for Rune in his semifinal match-up against hometown favorite Oscar Otte, as the Dane went down 0-40 on his first service game and got broken in the first set. He turned the match around, though, winning in straight sets 6-4 6-4. The final was a tough one for Rune. The Dane fell 4-1 down in the first set but at 3-4, Van De Zandschulp could not continue in the match due to an aching chest. It’s certainly not how Rune imagined winning his first title, but it is likely the first of many as he moves up. Rune will be the World No. 45 on Monday, moving up 25 spots from his last ranking and will become the first Danish man in the ATP Top 50 since Kenneth Carlsen in 2005.
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