Back then, the young Dane played his first main draw match at a Grand Slam and he had very big problems with cramps in the fourth set. As a result, Novak Djokovic allowed him to win 1 game not to lose the last set 6-0. A few months and ATP matches later, on a Sunday night in the French capital, the atmosphere was much different.
Holger Rune and Novak Djokovic met in the 2022 Paris Masters final and both of them enjoyed a superb form lately. While the youngster won 18 out of the last 20 matches he played, the 21-time Grand Slam champion had a 20-match winning streak in ATP main draw matches. Therefore, it was obvious that none of them wanted to lose in the final of the last ATP 1000 event of the year.
Yet, Rune started match a bit nervously while his opponent showed his great experience and got an early break. Djokovic hit 11 winners in the first set and only 3 unforced errors as he never allowed his opponent to have a break point. As a result, he comfortably got ahead in the match by winning the first set 6-3 in 36 minutes.
The Serbian had three break points also at the start of the second set. However, he couldn't use his chance and in the next game, it was Rune, who used his only break point to go ahead. This time, he hit 13 winners and made only 4 unforced errors and won the set 6-3 to take it into decider.
Both players showed superb level also in the last set as they kept hitting many more winners than unforced errors. Djokovic was the first player to break but Rune soon broke back and when it seemed that the match will have to be decided in a tie-break, the Dane got another break to lead 6-5 and serve for the match.
Djokovic had a chance to break back as he created six break point opportunities. Yet, he couldn't use any those as Rune kept his superb level to win the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and win his first ATP Masters 1000 title. Moreover, he will move into Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career on Monday.