It was one of the most anticipated matches at this year's Roland Garros and also a rematch of last year's quarterfinal. 12 months ago, the match was overshadowed by a cold handshake and subsequent comments from both players, but that was all over this year.
Already at the 2023 Italian Open, where Rune defeated the Norwegian, he said that he has 'zero problems with him', so there were no fireworks expected on the Court Philippe-Chatrier. Also, Ruud was clear that the conflict is already behind them, and even ahead of the quarterfinal match, Rune joked that he hopes for a less dramatic match.
And both were right, the first two sets of the match were very far from being dramatic. The young Dane had two break points in the first game, but after he failed to use his chances, it seemed that nothing was going well for him.
Rune simply couldn't play his game and in the first two sets, he made 30 unforced errors while hitting only 13 winners. Because of that, the 20-year-old was losing 1-6, 2-6 after only 55 minutes of play.
But the French crowd revived him. The sixth seed came out firing in the third set, hitting 16 winners and painting the lines right and left. After 46 minutes in the third set, Rune won 6-3 and it was game on.
Knowing that he has to step up his game if he wants to win, Ruud did exactly that. He hit 18 winners in the fourth set and even though his opponent hit even one more, it wasn't enough to beat the Norwegian.
Different year, the same result as Ruud won and once again, it was in four sets 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to set up a semifinal match with Alexander Zverev who won in the match played earlier.
Although there was no drama in the Scandinavian battle, there was some after the German's victory, especially during his on-court interview. On the other hand, Ruud's interview was much calmer.
"Very relieved. I came into this match just trying to play without pressure, but it's not easy, obviously, you're playing a big match. Luckily for me, in the first two sets, he made a lot of errors, but he fought back. In the fourth set, I was just lucky to get that one break and keep it all the way out."
Mats Wilander, who interviewed the Norwegian, noted that the match was a really important one in Scandinavia, but not only in Norway and Denmark, countries where Ruud and Rune were born, but also in Wilander's home country, Sweden.
"I was playing well. Little tricky start, I was down break points already in the first game. But I think I did well, I kind of looked like he was the favourite, he won the last time and had the better year."
Ruud struggled with his level early this season, but he managed to improve when it mattered and that was exactly around the period when he defended the most of his points. Asked if his game is improving, the Norwegian was honest and also mentioned his semifinal opponent.
"I think those three sets that I won today were very good level. I feel like the game is improving match by match, playing Sascha, it's so great to see him in the semifinals. It's great to see him back and I think it's going to be a great match."