Midnight misery in Paris as Holger Rune’s fairy-tale run in French Open comes to an end

The Norwegian world number eight Casper Ruud took the first set 6-1 and prevailed in four

Holger Rune would have probably picked another opponent for his first grand slam quarter-final if he could.

After all, the Norwegian world number eight Casper Ruud, who prevailed at Roland Garros 6-1, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 last night to advance to the final four of the French Open, is practically his cousin.

As a fellow Scandinavian, Ruud, probably more than any other player on the tour, understands how Rune ticks. He can even understand what the young Dane is saying when he curses under his breath! 

And four years his senior, he has waited longer for this opportunity. A grand slam semi-final is no mean feat: for many accomplished players, it is the best it ever gets.

Glowing plaudits from the victor
Ruud’s experience really told in his serving, which was consistently good throughout.

But he was made to work hard for his victory by his young opponent, who is expected to rise from number 40 in the world to #28 – a surge that should see him seeded at Wimbledon.

“I started really well, but Holger fought back well and raised his level, and then we had a really tough match in the end,” he told Eurosport.

“Holger has become much more dangerous and unpredictable. He plays fearlessly and goes after the big shots. He will be a dangerous player for the next many years.”

Mum! You’re putting me off!
Most pundits concurred before the tournament that opening sets would be crucial for the young Dane, as his fitness level over five sets has rarely been tested before. Young players tends to cramp up in the long matches.

He came through his opening three matches without dropping a set, and he took the opener against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas before prevailing in four.

But against Ruud, he really came unstuck in the first, losing 1-6 after several breaks of serve.

As far as the customary curse words go, Rune had a few outbursts during the match. At one point, he even asked his mother to leave her seat (see below) because she was putting him off!

Accusations of bad sportsmanship
It later emerged that Rune was disappointed by the sportsmanship of Ruud during and after the game.

“He was so unsportsmanlike during the match and was talking to me over and over again,” complained Rune to Ekstra Bladet.

Rune did not shake Ruud’s hand properly, instead giving him a high-five, and then after the match in the locker rooms there was almost an ugly confrontation. 

“He came straight up to me and shouted ‘JAAAA’ right in my face. You can cheer on the court all you want and be happy. I do that myself when I win. But that’s such bad style. Have some respect!” said the young Dane.