Holger Rune vs Casper Ruud: Roland Garros Quarterfinal Match Preview

Holger Rune French Open
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A Scandinavian derby that we should expect to keep seeing for the next decade, Casper Ruud and Holger Rune are set to battle it out for a spot in the French Open semifinals. They will have a tough act to follow in the night session of Philippe-Chatrier after the match Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic put out, but this should be an intriguing match as well and perhaps just as long.

Holger Rune vs Casper Ruud

Early meetings

Rune and Ruud are an interesting match-up, especially on clay where both are at their best. Rune is five years younger than Ruud so it makes sense that the Norwegian would get the jump on the Dane in their first couple of matches.

This was the case exactly in both of their 2021 meetings when Rune was still mostly playing Challengers. Their play style is similar but Ruud was simply better at it last season, which led to Rune struggling to win points regularly and lopsided scorelines.

Rune was just 17 years old in their first meeting back in Monte Carlo 2021 where Ruud dropped just three games against him with the match lasting just over an hour. Things were not much different in Bastad after the Dane’s 18th birthday, Ruud handing out a bagel in a 6-0 6-2 win.

Monte Carlo Rematch

Their most recent match-up was different though. It was in Monte Carlo once again but Rune had leveled up as a player since their previous meetings, winning five Challenger titles and making a Slam debut at the US Open where he took a set off Novak Djokovic.

Both players held their serves all the way to the tiebreak in the first set. Rune came out of the traps quicker in it, holding 3-0 and 5-3 leads. Ruud’s experience came to the fore at the very end though, when the Norwegian won four straight points and took the first set.

Rune got the first break for 3-1 but failed to confirm it in the next games. Despite two gamepoints, Ruud broke back and followed it up with an easy hold. From 3-3, we saw five straight breaks with the 23-year-old then serving the match out. Of the three breaks of Rune’s serve, two were quite easy, which helped hand the initiative to Rune.

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Preview

Rune definitely looked close to the same level as Ruud in Monte Carlo and since, it is possible to argue the Dane has taken yet another step. The 19-year-old has dominated in every match and only dropped one set on his run so far, to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the best win of Rune’s career so far.

Ruud has dropped four sets on his road to the quarterfinals, sending Jo-Wilfried Tsonga off to retirement, a comeback from two sets to one down against Lorenzo Sonego, and his fourth-round win over Hubert Hurkacz.

After what Rune showed in his win over Tsitsipas, this match is a toss-up between him and Ruud. Expect to see a lot of long rallies, potentially five sets, and some elite defense on show. If I had to pick a winner, I would go with Ruud. As a player with a bit more experience, he will likely be faster to adjust his gameplan if he is being outplayed by Rune in longer rallies. The Dane’s cramping issues might come into play in a longer match so that factor also slightly shifts the scales in the Norwegian’s favor.

Main Photo from Getty.