Rune wins Dimitrov slog to reach Monte Carlo quarters

WHEN you had to play your Round of 32 match earlier in the day following rain suspension from the previous day, the last thing you want is an epic struggle, but that was exactly the case for Dane Holger Rune who needed three and half hours to get past Grigor Dimitrov and reach the Monte Carlo Masters last eight.

Both players entered the match having only just finished off their Round of 32 contests that morning. But neither was willing to make it easy for the opponent, with Rune eventually getting the chocolates in an epic struggle, 7-6 3-6 7-6. The match was the longest best-of-three-sets Monte Carlo match in history, with the Dane needing to save two match points in the deciding set.

Trailing 5-6 in the third set after an already marathon match, Rune found a way to get back on level pegging, hold and then storm to victory in the tiebreak 7-2. For all of his time on court, Rune’s reward is taking on the player who has spent the least time on court in Italian world number two, Jannik Sinner in the quarter finals.

“It was a great match,” Rune said post-match. “I thought I played a very good first set, it was very long, one-and-a-half hours. So it was tough physically. I had a match earlier today which was two sets, so I played five sets today actually, which is pretty brutal.

“To beat Grigor, who’s played such a good season, and last season, and to get my revenge is a great feeling. I played very good and I’m happy to beat him.”

A mind-boggling 252 points were played in the contest, with Dimitrov actually edging ahead in total points (127-125), but Rune’s ability to keep fighting and step up in the deciding tiebreak was the difference. Having made the final last year, Rune has dropped outside the top 10 on the live rankings, and must defeat Sinner to stay inside the top 10.

“It’s going to be great. He’s for sure the favourite at the moment. I have a winning [Lexus ATP Head2Head] record, 2-1, but let’s see how it’s going to be,” Rune said of Sinner.

“He’s been definitely the player that almost nobody can beat. I think only Carlos [Alcaraz] beat him this year so far, and he’s the other greatest player this year. It’s going to be a big challenge, especially after a long day today, so I’m going to recover and try to do my best.”

The last remaining unseeded players were knocked out in the third round, as Frenchman Ugo Humbert became the lowest ranked remaining player. The 14th seed battled past Italian lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in three sets, 5-7 6-3 6-1, while Italian Alex de Minaur defeated compatriot Alexei Popyrin. He takes on world number on Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals.

Russian Karen Khachanov caused the biggest upset of the day defeating the clay-despising Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, while Stefanos Tsitsipas removed Alexander Zverev from the Masters 1000 event with a tight win. Norwegian Casper Ruud was the other victor on the day, defeating 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz.


[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 7-5 6-3
[2] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4 6-2
[15] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 6-3 7-5
[12] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [5] Alexander Zverev (GER) 7-5 7-6
[7] Holger Rune (DEN) defeated [9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-6 3-6 7-6
[8] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [10] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4 6-2
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[14] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated [LL] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 5-7 6-3 6-1

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments