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TENNIS

Rune defeats Djokovic in Rome and proves he’s a real contender for Roland Garros

The Danish young star pulled off the upset and defeated the Serb in three sets to advance to the semifinals at the Italian Open.

Update:
The Danish young star pulled off the upset and defeated the Serb in three sets to advance to the semifinals at the Italian Open.

Many expected him to put on a fight, but he ended up raising his hand. Holger Rune became the main star of the day in Rome after defeating Novak Djokovic in three sets at the Italian Open (6-2, 4-6, 6-2).

The Danish recorded his second consecutive win over Nole, who will leave the No. 1 spot to Carlos Alcaraz once the lists are updated after the tournament.

Rune’s victory over Djokovic will also go down in the history books, as it will be the first time that neither the Serb nor Rafa Nadal will be in the tournament final since 2004.

It’s really a big win for me,” he said after the game.

“Obviously I did it last year in Paris as well, but every match is a huge challenge for me when I play against Novak. He’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game. I knew I had to be at my best and I said it yesterday, and I was today. I’m super proud of myself and I enjoyed every moment out there”, he added.

Rune’s goal: winning a major this year

Rune’s victory is probably the most impressive on his resume this year, but the Danish player is having a great 2023 so far.

The world No. 7 recently won in Munich, beating Botic Van De Zandschulp in three hard-fought sets, and has only lost two of his last 15 games.

The 20-year-old is ambitious, and despite his young age, he recently admitted that he’s ready to conquer his first Grand Slam tournament.

My goal is a Slam for this year. I won a Masters 1000, in Paris, and I feel like the next step is a Slam. I know it takes a lot. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t, but I’m gonna go for it 100 percent”, he said after defeating local idol Fabio Fognini.

“Now we’re at French Open, and Wimbledon right after, and I feel good physically, I feel good mentally, I feel good in my tennis. So I’m trying to push as hard as I can for it and I hope it’s going to be this year”, he stated.

Rune was already considered by many as one of the dark horses to do something big at the French Open, but after his big win against Djokovic on clay he will be placed among the very favorites to go all the way in Paris, as well as Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic himself and Nadal.