Rune Saves Two Match Points To Beat Dimitrov In Three-Hour Epic In Monte Carlo

Rune Saves Two Match Points To Beat Dimitrov In Three-Hour Epic In Monte Carlo

by Erik Virostko

Holger Rune won a dramatic third-round match against Grigor Dimitrov at the 2024 Monte-Carlo Masters.

The two protagonists of this third-round match at the season's first ATP Masters 1000 tournament on clay were the last two players to finish their second-round matches, and that was because of the rain, which stopped the play on Wednesday.

They had to return to the court on Thursday, and both handled their second-round matches well, meaning that the highly-anticipated third-round showdown was set.

With the young Dane being the seventh seed and the Bulgarian player ninth, it was the best third-round match ranking-wise, close ahead of the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, which was another blockbuster.

The first set of this match was a proper battle, with multiple games going into multiple deuces. The 20-year-old had a one-break advantage and served for the set at 5-3, but Dimitrov refused to give up, breaking back to force a tie-break.

The 2017 ATP Finals champion then fought hard in the tie-break, as he faced a total of five set points, while he had only one chance to finish the first set victoriously, and it was on his serve.

However, Rune saved the only set point that he faced, and after a lengthy discussion with the umpire Carlos Bernardes about his fourth match point, when the Dane thought his ball was in, he was able to re-focus and win the tie-break 11-9.

But the start of the second set was weird, for both players. Rune looked really flat on his serve, losing it and calling for the physio afterwards, something his opponent challenged, as he probably felt it was tactical, especially after a long break between sets.

The youngster only received pain killers and the match could continue, with the veteran comfortably holding his serve to keep the one-break advantage, and after Dimitrov broke again, he easily won the second set 6-3 to force the decider.

The third set was a proper battle, with either player refusing to give up and the match entering the fourth hour. Neither was able to break in the first eleven games, despite both having precisely one break point.

But the most dramatic game was the 12th game of the third set, when Rune lost a 40-0 advantage, his opponent sensed an opportunity, and fought his way to two match points, but the younger of the two players saved both.

In the tie-break, Rune was the better player, but also the luckier player, but that's needed for every big win. After earning his first mini-break and leading 3-0, the net cord helped the 20-year-old, as the ball flew over his opponent and with two mini-breaks the lead seemed impossible to lose for the Dane.

Indeed it was impossible to lose, as Rune was able to win the match after three hours and 30 minutes 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-6(2) to reach the quarter-finals of the 2024 Monte-Carlo Masters.

Up next awaits a big challenge - Jannik Sinner, who has been the best player in 2024, and the Italian also won his third-round match easily to reach the quarter-final.


You may also like