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Rune saves 2 MPs vs. Dimitrov to complete Monte-Carlo double duty


Returning finalist Holger Rune put his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters campaign into overdrive on Thursday with a hard-fought double. The 20-year-old finished off a rain-delayed opening win against Sumit Nagal early in the day before returning to court to edge the in-form Grigor Dimitrov in a three-and-a-half-hour marathon, saving two match points at 5-6 in the final set.

The Dane’s 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-6(2) victory levelled the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series at 2-2 and set up a Friday quarter-final showdown with Jannik Sinner, who beat Dimitrov in the Miami final last month.

“It was a great match,” Rune said in his on-court interview. “I thought I played a very good first set, it was very long, one-and-a-half hours. So it was tough physically. I had a match earlier today which was two sets, so I played five sets today actually, which is pretty brutal.

“To beat Grigor, who’s played such a good season, and last season, and to get my revenge is a great feeling. I played very good and I’m happy to beat him.”

Rune needed five set points to win the first-set tie-break and bravely saved two match points in a marathon 5-6 game in the final set. Dimitrov battled back from 40/0 in that game, forcing deuce with a disguised drop shot on a would-be overhead, but he had no answer for Rune’s big hitting on his match points.

The Dane stormed out to a 4/0 lead in the decisive tie-break and wrapped up the win with aggressive hitting from the baseline. Rune saved seven of 10 break points in the match, according to Infosys ATP Stats, fighting deep into what was his fifth set of the day to avenge a defeat to Dimitrov in January’s Brisbane final.

The World No. 7 is down to No. 11 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings this week and must reach at least the semi-finals to avoid dropping out of the Top 10 of the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time since January 2023. To do that, he must beat Jannik Sinner in a rematch of last year’s Monte-Carlo semis.

“It’s going to be great. He’s for sure the favourite at the moment. I have a winning [Lexus ATP Head2Head] record, 2-1, but let’s see how it’s going to be,” said Rune, who was beaten by the Italian at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

“He’s been definitely the player that almost nobody can beat. I think only Carlos [Alcaraz] beat him this year so far, and he’s the other greatest player this year. It’s going to be a big challenge, especially after a long day today, so I’m going to recover and try to do my best.”

Casper Ruud also advanced, defeating Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4 to reach his 12th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final and the second on the season. 

The Norwegian has won nine of his 10 tour-level titles on clay but is seeking his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy this week. He will next meet Ugo Humbert after the French No. 1 beat Lorenzo Sonego 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. Humbert won titles in Marseille and Dubai earlier this season and is currently eighth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Turin.

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