Commentator Jim Courier has labelled Holger Rune's time violation against the serve clock as 'the most intentional time violation' he had ever seen during the teenager's fourth round clash at the Australian Open. Rune was heading into the clash against Andrey Rublev in strong form, but it was the Russian power-hitter that blew the Norwegian off the court in the initial encounters.
Rune managed to fight back in the second set, but the 19-year-old was clearly struggling with his physical condition in the warm Melbourne afternoon. In the first set, Rune had lost eight straight points and appeared to be battling himself.
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It was when the Norwegian was struggling that American tennis great, turned commentator, Courier claimed Rune deliberately copped a warning for a serve clock violation to give himself more time. Courier also went on to claim that Rune might need to continue his physical development if he was fading in the contest.
“I‘m sure he has done a lot of work in the off season to improve his physique. But right now if he doesn’t have a full tank of gas and it‘s only an hour and 41 (minutes) then he’s going to have some decisions to make and he’s going to have some decisions to make going forward,” Courier said during commentary.
“I think from what I’m seeing he’s already been making those decisions, trying to shorten the points and not play his normal patiently aggressive style.”
Many tennis fans were left stunned at the match, which tended to sway to the player who held his nerves in the big moments. Both players went through patches where they struggled to find their rhythm, which was pointed out.
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While Rune appeared to be physically below his best in the first two sets, the 19-year-old surged back and took the match to five sets. This was when Rublev had a dip in form and appeared on the brink of an exit as Rune served for the match.
However, Rublev broke to love and forced a fifth set tiebreak. Rune lifted his game and defended incredibly in the tiebreak. Despite a 5-0 lead, Rublev fought back and won the tiebreak 11-9 to win a rollercoaster match 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.
Rune is coming off his best ever season and it has translated into his best ever Open run. In 2022, he beat Novak Djokovic to win his first Masters title, in Paris.
He also reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the third round of the US Open. During the match against Rublev, Rune appeared to be struggling with this foot. Rune fell heavily, rolling his ankle as he chased down a shot in his third round match.
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