Denmark's Holger Rune has crashed out of the French Open after a wild quarter-final defeat to Norwegian Casper Ruud at Roland Garros. In a clash between fourth seed Ruud and his sixth-seeded opponent, it was the former who booked a semi-final date with Alexander Zverev after a stunning 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3 win.
Zverev beat unseeded Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the day's other last-eight showdown. The German let out his emotions after the victory, having sealed a spot in another French Open semi-final, one year after a horrendous injury against Rafa Nadal that left him in a wheelchair on Court Philippe Chatrier.
'DISGUSTING': Tennis world fumes over 'shameful' French Open drama
The German's opponent in the last four this time will be Ruud, who put on an absolute clinic against an out-of-sorts Rune, despite a mini-fightback from the Danish player. Sixth-seed Rune, who had beaten Ruud at the Italian Open last month, littered the court with 26 unforced errors in a disastrous first two sets.
Rune's horror start saw him commit five double faults and a staggering 18 unforced errors in the first set alone. It took Ruud just a little more than an hour to coast away with a two-sets-to-love lead, with Rune's extraordinary collapse leaving French Open viewers in disbelief.
Holger Rune 'disaster' leaves tennis fans in shock
The Dane finally rediscovered his power, aim and aggression to pull a set back in the third but any hopes a comeback were quickly extinguished by Ruud, as the Norwegian rolled through the fourth set with ease. Viewers were left in shock at the display from the young grand slam fancy Rune, who was ultimately left to rue an uncharacteristically poor opening two sets.
Unfortunately, Holger's #RolandGarros ends with a defeat from Casper Ruud for the second straight year 1-6, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6.
Rune was completely absent the first two sets, missing almost everything in his hands. His H2H is now 1-5 vs the Norwegian
— Holger Rune News (@running_rune) June 7, 2023
Rune's tennis today was a disaster... 😭two horrible sets... and how I expected him...🎾
— violeta panait (@violeta_vmm) June 7, 2023
ROLAND GARROS QF: Casper Ruud wins 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 against Holger Rune to get his first ever Top 10 win at a slam
Holger hit himself out of the first two sets with unforced errors, and it was too late by the time he started to play better.
— Tennis Updates (@TennisUpdates23) June 7, 2023
Rune wasn't there for the first two sets and by then it was too late to turn around https://t.co/Cn21YyZAZ3
— smartpicks (@Tennis18Alex) June 7, 2023
Holger Rune having an absolute shocker so far. Loses the first set 6-1 to Casper Ruud, who didn’t really have to do anything. Five dfs and *18* unforced errors pic.twitter.com/313nxXHAvj
— Eleanor Crooks (@EleanorcrooksPA) June 7, 2023
Holger Rune has been awful these past two matches
— parlay king 👑 (@bigseejay1) June 7, 2023
wow , wasn't expecting such a scoreline
Ruud lost just 3 games to have a 2-set lead against Rune ?!#rolandgarros
— Turkish Mommy (@TurkishMommy) June 7, 2023
Casper Ruud sets up semi-final against Alexander Zverev
Ruud's victory saw him end the French Open campaign of his 20-year-old opponent for the second consecutive year, setting up a blockbuster semi-final showdown with Zverev. The pair had met at the same stage in a bad-tempered match in 2022 with Ruud emerging victorious in four sets before falling in the final to 14-time champion Rafael Nadal.
"Very, very relieved. I came into this match trying to play without pressure but it is not easy playing a big match against Holger who is playing very aggressively," Ruud said. "The three sets I won today were a really good level. I feel my game is improving match by match."
Zverev rolled into the semis at Roland Garros almost exactly one year after leaving the grand slam at the same stage in a wheelchair. The 26-year-old was in excruciating pain after suffering a serious ankle injury against Nadal 12 months ago and had surgery to repair his ligaments.
The German's return was further delayed in September due to a bone issue and he only began playing pain-free earlier this season, with the victory over Etcheverry futher proof that the German is getting back to his best. "I don't think about it. I'm going on court to win tennis matches," Zverev said.
"I'm not thinking about what happened last year. I have to talk about it a lot obviously, that's fine. Grand slams are tennis history. That's what you play for.
"I think the two most important things in tennis are grand slams and the Olympic Games. I'm happy to be playing the way I'm playing here in Paris ... I'm extremely happy with how things are going, but the tournament is not over yet."
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