Holger Rune shocks Novak Djokovic in unprecedented tennis drama

Danish teen Holger Rune beat Novak Djokovic to become the youngest winner of the Paris Masters in 36 years. Pic: Getty
Danish teen Holger Rune beat Novak Djokovic to become the youngest winner of the Paris Masters in 36 years. Pic: Getty

Danish teenager Holger Rune has left the tennis world in awe after beating Novak Djokovic to clinch his first Masters title in Paris in historic circumstances.

The 19-year-old defeated Djokovic 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the final, seeing off the six-time champion at the indoor hardcourt event to earn a place in the top 10 for the first time in his career.

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Victory saw the Dane become the youngest winner of the prestigious tournament since 1986 when German great Boris Becker claimed the title in Paris as an 18-year-old.

Rune's win against Djokovic capped off an extraordinary run to the title, which saw him become the first man in ATP Tour history to beat five top-10 players at the same tournament, since rankings were launched in 1973.

That of course excludes the season-ending ATP Finals in which only the top-8 men's players in the world compete.

Rune's scalps en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final included Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, No.1 Carlos Alcaraz - who retired injured when trailing in their quarter-final - and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Now, Rune can add last year's Paris champion Djokovic to that list, defeating the 21-time grand slam winner who had described his young opponent as the future of tennis on the eve of the final.

The teenager will also become the first Danish man to crack the top-10 in the world when the ATP rankings are officially updated this week.

With Spain's Alcaraz ranked No.1 in the world, it will be the first time two teens have occupied a spot in the men's top 10 since Andy Murray and Djokovic in 2007.

Djokovic broke Rune's serve in the fourth game to lead 3-1 and take an early grip, soon seeing out the opening set.

Yet Rune charged 3-0 ahead in the second and grew in confidence. There was even a Djokovic-like raised fist after getting the better of his illustrious rival in one thrilling rally.

Djokovic roared ahead in the decider, but not intimidated by the occasion, Rune struck back to recover the early break.

Rune then broke to lead 6-5, as his Serbian opponent became erratic.

Nobody beats Djokovic without a fight though, and the Serb carved out six chances to break back in the next game.

Rune survived them all and clinched victory on his second match point when Djokovic, who had been chasing a record-extending 39th ATP 1000 title, netted on the half-volley.

Novak Djokovic congratulates Holger Rune on victory

Djokovic paid tribute to Rune after the match with a classy runner-up speech.

Addressing Rune in an on-court interview, Djokovic said: "You absolutely deserve this victory. What an amazing week you had.

"I'm not happy that you beat me, but on the other hand I'm happy for you because I like your personality, I think you're a very dedicated guy that loves tennis and puts a lot of hours into hard work.

"It's paying off for you, and I'm sure the future is bright for you and your team, so congratulations."

Holger Rune was full of emotion after beating Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title. Pic: Getty
Holger Rune was full of emotion after beating Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title. Pic: Getty

Djokovic also praised the fighting characteristics of the young Dane after his famous triumph.

"He is a great guy, I love him. I think he's really good for tennis. He tries his best, he's a fantastic competitor. We get along really well, we've trained a lot in Monaco. I know his family, they're a really nice family. He deserves all his success," Djokovic added.

Rune, who is working with Serena Williams' former coach Patrick Mouratoglou, said: "This must be my favourite tournament now, I really enjoyed my time here."

with agencies

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