Casper Ruud overcame a fightback from Holger Rune to win 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3 and book his place in the French Open semi-finals for the second year in a row.
Rune was coming off a hard-fought win over Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth round, while Casper Ruud had seen off Nicolas Jarry.
However Rune was on the back foot from the off in the first set, and Ruud smashed past him 6-1 in a rout of an opener.
At 2-0 down in the second set, Rune had offered just up just six winners and 25 unforced errors,
Both players are ranked in the top 10 and they were playing for the chance to meet Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals. Rune was looking to kick on beyond the quarter-finals, where he missed out last season, while Ruud was a losing finalist in 2022.
A brief show of steel from Rune at 2-1 hinted there may be a comeback of some kind, but Ruud was seeing the ball with huge confidence and he swiftly added another to games to the tally to leave him on the brink of doubling his advantage.
The 20-year-old sparked into life late into the second set as he improved his timing, but fell 6-2 in the second set to leave Ruud just one more from the semis.
Rune took a break off-court at that point to compose himself, and came back with renewed vigour as he broke his opponent for the first time in the match, and with five points from five at the net, he moved 3-0 clear and held on to take the third set 6-3.
That left both players facing a potential first: Rune was yet to win from 2-0 down, and Ruud had not before lost a match from 2-0 up.
Rune whips up crowd after securing first break against Ruud to threaten comeback
As the weather cooled down to just above 20 degrees, Ruud’s heavy-hitting forehands gave him the edge as he broke to 3-1 up, and held to go 4-1 clear after some of the most exacting rallies of the match.
At 5-2, Rune was left to stay in the match with his service game, and he battled from 40-30 down to deuce, and an astonishing, lunging effort from both players saw Ruud claw back to 40-40 to cancel out his opponent’s own advantage.
Rune then battled at 40-0 down to stay in the match a little longer against the 24-year-old, but was unable to hold on, going down 6-2 again.
Speaking on-court after the match, Ruud said he was, “Very, very relieved. I came into this match just trying to play without pressure, but it’s not easy. You’re playing a big match. He played very aggressively. Luckily for me, the first two sets he wasn’t probably wasn’t feeling too well, he was making a lot of errors so I got a lot of points for free, so that helped settle the nerves.
“But he fought back, in the third set he was playing better. In the fourth set I was lucky to get that one break and keep it the way out.
“I was playing well. Holger, he fired off some double faults and gave me the break early. I think I did well. He was the favourite, he beat my last time, and he’s had a better year than me so far. I was feeling the underdog here. He was hungry to reach the semi-final and I was looking to get back to the semi-final this year. Luckily it played out well for me.
“I think those three sets I won today was a very good level. I feel like the level is getting better.”
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