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Jannik Sinner, on top of the world Jannik Sinner, seul au monde

Holger Rune defeated Novak Djokovic (3/6 6/3 7/5) in the final of the Rolex Paris Master on Sunday, the 6th of November 2022.

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The Paris trophy closes the amazing end of season of the young Dane. In the last month, he won two titles and lost two finals. His recent collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou seems to be working for him. Thanks to this victory, the 19-year-old player ends the year as the 10th in the world in the Race to Turin.

In the first set of the final, both players showed their opposite game styles. While Novak Djokovic delivered shots from the back of the court, Holger Rune added up accelerated forehands and rises to the net: 1/1. The Danish player then offered a break to his opponent. After a catastrophic game punctuated by 2 double faults, Novak Djokovic took the lead: 2/1, serve to follow. Until the end of the first set, both players weren’t really worried during their games of serve. The former world number one relied on excellent first serve to dominate the rallies. Holger Rune constantly attacked Novak Djokovic before finishing his points at the net. 

From the first game of the second set, the young player was under pressure. He managed to save three break points with a sequence of fabulous points. He then took advantage of a few unforced errors by Novak Djokovic to take an early break: 2/0. He confirmed his advantage after a tied game. The pattern of the first set started over again. Both players won their remaining service games without difficulty. Holger Rune played better and better. As he was more confident, he released his shots and chocked Novak Djokovic. The latter committed unusual errors that prevented him from creating opportunities on his opponent’s serve. The Dane sealed the second set: 6/3.

Novak Djokovic started the deciding set frustrated. He encouraged himself after each point – the tension was tangible. The Serb didn’t make any errors anymore. Holger Rune couldn’t get past him, and ended up making unforced errors: 2/1, serve of the Danish to follow. Novak Djokovic got three break points. He converted the last one thanks to a new double fault from Holger Rune: 3/1. However, he was unable to hold on to the lead. In the next game, the 19-year-old talent got his break back with an astonishing passing shot: 3/3. The two players quickly reached the score of 5/5. Holger Rune then managed to win Novak Djokovic’s serve after a ball that landed in the net. 6/5, the Dane had to serve for the championship. This last game lasted more than 16 minutes. Despite six break points, the Serb didn’t convert any of his opportunities. Holger Rune won his second match point: 7/5.

During this final, Novak Djokovic offered a convincing tennis but below his capabilities. The former world number one made some unusual errors that prevented him from displaying his outstanding defense. As for Holger Rune, he was up to the challenge. For the first Master 1000 final of his career, the young player found the necessary resources. After a quick first set, he renewed his tennis. He managed to disturb Novak Djokovic with a varied game: rises to the net, explosive balls from the back court and rare slices.

Holger Rune is now close to the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Often overshadowed by the youngest world number one in history, Carlos Alcaraz, the Dane should gain more recognition after this major win. Is this tournament only a stroke of genius or the beginning of a new phase in Holger Rune’s career? Answer in January 2023.

Marnie Abbou

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