Tennis·ROUNDUP

Holger Rune battles back in Paris final, denying Djokovic 39th Masters title

Unseeded Danish teenager Holger Rune staged a stunning comeback to secure the biggest victory of his career by beating Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Sabalenka stuns Swiatek, faces Garcia for WTA Finals title

Unseeded Holger Rune, 19, outlasted Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday, his fifth straight victory of the week against a top 10-ranked opponent. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Unseeded Danish teenager Holger Rune staged a stunning comeback to secure the biggest victory of his career by beating Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Rune denied Djokovic a record-extending 39th Masters title.

The 19-year-old Rune, who is a friend and former junior doubles partner of top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, saved six break points when serving for the match.

Djokovic saved one match point when Rune double-faulted. But the audacious Dane took his chance on the next, whipping a forehand into Djokovic's feet that he could only volley back into the net.

"It means everything to me, a perfect way to finish the week," Rune said. "It's a privilege to share the court with Novak."

Rune, who is the same age as U.S. Open champion Alcaraz, slid on his back in disbelief after winning his first Masters title. He got back up and looked close to tears as he sank his head in his hands, then raised both fists in the air to celebrate a remarkable week where he beat five top 10-ranked opponents in a row.

Djokovic, who missed out on a record-extending seventh Paris Masters title, hugged him warmly at the net.

"I feel exhausted. It was an incredible tournament," Rune said. "I have so much respect for what [Djokovic] has done," Rune said. "I'm so proud of myself, it hasn't sunk in yet. The last game was one of the most stressful of my tennis life."

WATCH | Rune puts end to Auger-Aliassime's late-season win streak:

Unforced errors sink Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Paris Masters

3 months ago
Duration 1:28
Fatigue and mistakes led to the Canadian's undoing in the semifinals.

Djokovic looked set to cruise to a 91st career title.

The sixth-seeded Serb wrapped up the first set with a love hold on serve, then had Rune 0-40 down in the opening service game of the second set.

Rune saved three break points and waved his arms to get the crowd going. They responded with chants of "Holger, Holger."

Djokovic offered his first break point at 30-40 in the next game and was broken when he hit a loose forehand wide. Rune took control and won the second set with a love hold of his own.

But Rune found himself 0-40 down once again, this time in the fourth game of the decider. He saved one break point with an ace but double-faulted on his next serve as Djokovic broke for a 3-1 lead, again looking in command.

The match then turned when Djokovic missed a routine smash at the net on game point for a 4-1 lead, with Rune showing incredible reflexes to volley it back for a winner.

Tired-looking Djokovic

This let Rune back in the contest and he broke back with a fine cross-court forehand. Djokovic then had some massage treatment on his left thigh at the changeover and began to get agitated, remonstrating with his team.

A tired-looking Djokovic chopped a backhand long in the 11th game to trail 30-40, and Rune broke him again to serve for the match at 6-5.

It wasn't over. Rarely is with Djokovic.

He drew on his experience as a 21-time Grand Slam singles champion to pressure Rune in a 12th game lasting nearly 20 minutes, but Rune held his nerve for his third title of the year and of his blossoming career.

Rune will enter the top 10 in the rankings on Monday, where he joins top-ranked Alcaraz, who will miss the rest of the season after sustaining an abdominal muscle tear in Paris earlier this week.

"I'm feeling lovely to be honest, it's the best feeling," Rune said. "If you told me four weeks ago, I would be top 10 . I would be like, `What, sorry?' Now I'm here, and I'm super proud."

Sabalenka stuns Swiatek, faces Garcia for WTA Finals title

Aryna Sabalenka ended top-ranked Iga Swiatek's 15-match winning streak against top-10 opponents, winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 on Sunday night for a spot in the championship of the WTA Finals.

The stunner put Sabalenka in the final against Caroline Garcia, who beat Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-2 and has a chance to be just the second Frenchwoman to win the title at the season-ending event.

Swiatek, the French Open and U.S. Open champion and runaway leader with eight tour victories, cruised through three round-robin victories, losing just 13 games to give her the longest winning run against top-10 opponents since Steffi Graf won 17 straight in 1987.

Just like that, it was over when the 21-year-old from Poland lost the last five games against a player she had beaten in all four meetings this season.

Sabalenka didn't make it to the semifinals with the No. 1 ranking in the eight-player event last year. She was in as the seventh-ranked player, and showed how comfortable she was on the temporary indoor hard court at Dickies Arena. Nine of her 10 career victories have come on hard courts.

"I just want to make sure that every time she plays against me, she knows that she really has to work hard to get a win," Sabalenka said. "Only because of this thinking, I was able to play at this amazing level tonight."

Swiatek fell behind one break in the final set with two wide forehands before another one put her down two breaks.

Defending doubles champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova also advanced to the title match with a 7-6(5), 6-2 semifinal victory over Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.

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