Sixth seed Holger Rune’s poor start in his French Open quarterfinal against Norway’s Casper Ruud on Wednesday proved costly with the Dane littering the court with unforced errors for more than an hour.
The 20-year-old had hoped to make it to his first Grand Slam semifinals but instead ended up playing catch-up as Ruud cruised through the first two sets in just 68 minutes.
In a repeat of last year’s quarterfinal in Paris, it was Ruud who emerged victorious once more with a 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory to set up a semifinal against Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
“I wasn’t there the first two sets, but you cannot allow yourself to do that when you play a player like Casper, and any player at the top of the game, because it’s too long of a way back,” Rune said.
“I think I started very, very bad, unfortunately. I didn’t find my level at all the first two sets.”
“It’s tough. Like the first two sets, I didn’t really get the chance to see how well he played because I missed so many shots. In the third and fourth set I started to play better, and I thought he still played good.”
Rune made 30 unforced errors in those two sets and hardly put any pressure on his opponent.
“I didn’t feel good. I didn’t play well. But that’s life sometimes. You cannot always find your best level,” said the Dane.
“I tried everything I could to get some rhythm and try to get back on track. Managed to come back in the third, but it’s late, you know, when you waste two sets like this.”
Rune upped his game in the third set, putting more power into his shots and stretching Ruud who briefly struggled for answers.
But the 24-year-old Ruud bounced back in the fourth and despite fending off four match points, Rune was beaten on the fifth as the Norwegian took revenge for last month’s defeat to his Scandinavian rival in Rome.
“We have another Grand Slam (Wimbledon) around the corner, so I hope to be stronger there,” Rune said. “I’m happy that the clay season is over now. I’m ready to move on. Just focused on the grass now.”
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