Rune rolls into Brisbane quarters after another tough slog

TOP seed Holger Rune is not having the easiest run of matches or playing at his peak performance despite facing lower ranked opponents, but the Dane was still able to secure his place in the Brisbane International quarter finals.

After having to come from behind against Australian Max Purcell in the first round, Rune was made to work for it against Russian Alexander Shevchenko, eventually fighting through the challenge to win in three sets. The world number eight had plenty of grit against his 48th ranked opponent, needing to survive two hours and 27 minutes on court before running away with the final set, 6-4 5-7 6-2.

Rune served 12 aces to Shevchenko’s five, while winning an outstanding 75 and 65 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 63 per cent service clip. In that time, the Dane was also able to save five of his six break points, while converting three of 10 off his opponent’s serve.

“I thought it was a very good match,” Rune said post-match. “He was ripping the ball and going for his shots, he made it difficult for me.

“The beginning of the match was hard, so I really had to dig deep and fight.”

Rune will have more challenges in the Brisbane quarter finals, such as battling against not just his opponent – who is Australian qualifier James Duckworth – but the crowd as well. Duckworth, a Brisbane local knocked off German Yannick Hanfmann 4-6 6-1 7-6 to reach the quarter finals of his home tournament for the fist time in nine years.

In the other two Round of 16 results, Roman Safiullin capitalised against Australian Alexei Popyrin in a two-hour and 54-minute slog, winning 6-7 6-4 7-6 to advance to the next round and face off against Italian young gun Matteo Arnaldi. The 22-year-old defeated Slovakian qualifier Lukas Klein in another three set contest, 6-4 3-6 7-5.


Four second round matches took place in Hong Kong with a couple of upsets taking place. The big one was Chinese teenager Juncheng Shang continuing his outstanding run from a wildcard to save more match points – as he did in the first round – and come back to defeat Dutch top 50 player, Botic Van de Zandschulp in a trio of tiebreakers, 6-7 7-6 7-6 in three hours and 32 minutes.

The other big upset was Russian world number 67 Pavel Kotov taking down Italian top 30 talent and sixth seed Lorenzo Musetti, 6-4 6-3. He will now face Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori who took care of Russian second seed Karen Khachanov in three sets, 7-6 2-6 6-2.

In the other match American Frances Tiafoe won through in straight sets over Serbian talent Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 7-6 to be the arguably the new favourite at the event, but he now faces giant-killer Shang in the quarter finals.

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