Seventh-seeded Holger Rune bounced back from dropping the first set to outlast Casper Ruud in an all-Scandinavian semifinal clash on Saturday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
Rune rode the momentum of his quarterfinal victory over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and overcame nine aces by the fourth-seeded Ruud to post a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2 win.
“I really played some of my best tennis in the past two matches against Novak and then Casper,” the 20-year-old Denmark native said. “Two difficult players to play, so I had to find my best tennis and I actually didn’t find it today, only at the end and that is why I turned it around.”
Rune did precisely that in the second set, when he overcame a 4-2 deficit en route to dismissing the 24-year-old Norwegian in two hours and 41 minutes.
“I had nothing to lose in the second (set), so I just told myself to play freely and enjoy it as I thought it would be my last set here,” Rune said. “I told myself to play aggressively and enjoy it and I did it and that was the key to comeback.”
Rune saved 5-of-6 break points, while Ruud went 0-for-4. Ruud didn’t help himself by committing six double faults.
Rune will bid for his second ATP Masters 1000 crown on Sunday against No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who eliminated No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-5, 7-5 in a rain-interrupted semifinal.
“I enjoyed playing today,” Medvedev said. “It was very tough with the rain delay, I warmed up like six or seven times, but actually sometimes it can throw you off, you can be a little bit angry (about) the situation. Today, I don’t know why, I was just kind of laughing.”
Medvedev converted all four break chances and won 83 percent of the points on his first serve (30 of 36). He finished with 19 winners and 11 unforced errors, compared to 28 winners and 12 unforced errors for Tsitsipas.
Medvedev, 27, broke Tsitsipas’ serve in the opening game of both sets and ended the match in one hour and 47 minutes, improving his record in their head-to-head series to 8-4.
Sunday’s match against Rune will be Medvedev’s ninth Masters 1000 final, however it is only the second clay-court final of his career and his first since Barcelona in 2019.
–Field Level Media