A gritty Holger Rune gets the better of Casper Ruud to Reach Rome final

Holger Rune in action ahead of the ATP Rome Masters.

Seventh seed Holger Rune of Denmark beat fourth seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Italian Open semifinal on Saturday. The 20-year-old Dane, who won the Paris Masters last year and beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal last Wednesday, will be eyeing his second Masters 1000 title on Sunday.

The match lasted for almost three hours, but Rune exerted his supremacy in the end.

How Holger Rune beat Casper Ruud in Rome

The first set was a well-contested one as Ruud ruled with his forehand:

Rune started the match in an aggressive fashion and tried to hit through the Norwegian repeatedly. However, to his credit, Ruud defended very well, especially on his backhand side to return Rune’s inside-out forehands.

As the first set progressed, Ruud started hitting his shots with more power. His inside-in forehand troubled Rune quite a bit, as he succeeded in hitting it past the Danes a few times. Rune then started rushing the net more often, depending a lot on subtle touches from the forecourt. The set then went into a tie-break, as the 24-year-old Norwegian raced to a 5-0 lead before winning the tie-break.

Ruud hit a very impressive number of winners in the first set, with about half of them coming off his forehand.

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Ruud’s legs started giving in as Rune capitalized in it:

Holger Rune started moving Ruud from side to side in the second set, as Ruud’s legs began showing signs of tiredness. The Dane played his drop shots to good effect and also started hitting the inside-out forehand more often.

Still, It was Ruud who broke Rune in the fifth game of the second set and then held his serve to lead 4-2. However, Rune broke back to level the score and then got another break to win the set.

By the time the final set began, Ruud was visibly tired and did not even bother to try to chase down Rune’s drop shots at times. The Norwegian tried hitting the down-the-line backhand, which was a high-risk shot, more often and ended up hitting a few of them wide. Rune broke Ruud twice in the third set to finish the match off.

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports