Holger Rune of Denmark beat 6th seed and 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday to win his maiden Masters 1000 title. The match lasted for almost three hours as the 19-year-old Dane demonstrated exceptional resolve and grit to overcome the former world no. 1.
Rune will now start as one of the favorites to win the ATP tour finals to be held in Turin next week. We will now take a look at three keys to Sunday’s match:
Three keys to Holger Rune’s win over Novak Djokovic in the final of the ATP Paris Masters
#1. Djokovic overcame Rune with a clinical display in the first set:
Djokovic was his usual clinical self from the baseline in the first set and did not allow Rune much leeway. The Dane came with a few powerful winners off his forehand, but could not do enough to topple the experienced Serb. For his part, Djokovic also dispatched quite a few short balls provided to him by Rune with outright forehand winners and also hit a sublime down-the-line winner off his backhand.
There were very few errors from the Serb overall as he got the only break of the set in the fourth game and went on to win it convincingly. However, there were flashes of brilliance from Rune, who hit a brilliant winner with a backhand drop shot to take the Serb by surprise.
#2. Rune started using more top spin from the second set onwards:
Rune altered his tactics somewhat at the beginning of the second set. He started imparting more top spin in his forehand to slow down the rallies, which forced Djokovic to hit his shots with more power and thereby commit errors more frequently.
Rune also exhibited exceptional defensive qualities to chase down quite a few difficult balls along the baseline. The Dane broke Djokovic in the second game of the first set and never lost his serve to draw level.
#3. Rune bounced back creditably to win the third set:
Djokovic started the third set well, breaking Rune in the fourth game to go 3-1 up. However, the Dane broke back in the subsequent game to stun the Serb and then went on to break him again before winning the set.
Djokovic kept trying to hit his forehand with more venom and often approached the net to put pressure on the Dane. However, Rune played a few wonderful passes to stun the Serb. The pattern repeated itself on the match point, too, as the Serb rushed the net and failed to hit volley past the net.
Rune was the more aggressive of the players, hitting 42 winners against Djokovic’s 36. Still, it was the Serb who committed fewer unforced errors – 13 against Rune’s 20. However, the Serb could only convert two of the 12 breakpoint opportunities he had, while Rune converted each of the three that came his way. It was a close match by all means, but Rune did enough in the end to register the most memorable victory of his career yet.
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