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Holger Rune Downs Tsitsipas in Roland Garros Upset

As the fourth seed is taken out by Holger Rune, the draw begins to take on a varied mix of rankings. Yet Djokovic and Nadal are now set to duel at the French Open once again, as history repeats itself in the quarter-finals.

Holger Rune – the unseeded 19-year-old from Denmark and 40th in the world – took down Stefanos Tsitsipas in four sets.

Only last year, Tsitsipas climbed to the Roland Garros final before being beaten by Novak Djokovic. As the number 4 seed, Tsitsipas’s departure marks a significant shakeup in the draw, as the field narrows to the quarter-finals without one of its top players.

The Greek had a relatively smooth ride to his fourth-round match against Rune, with a couple of minor scares against Lorenzo Musetti in the first round and Zdeněk Kolář in the second, though he quickly reasserted his dominance.

Rune had practised his strategy before meeting Tsitsipas during his first-round match against Denis Shapovalov on Tuesday.

In both, Rune at times played with aggression, staying tight to the baseline and going for winners down the line.

But in the main, he took an extremely defensive position, standing a foot or more behind the line, taking his time to rally the ball back to his opponent. Gathering momentum and feel for his groundstrokes, Rune would calmly wait until an unforced error gifted him the point or opened the chance to attack.

Rune vs Shapovalov, 2022 French Open, First-Round

In frustration, Shapovalov, and later Tsitsipas, would try an approach shot before a volley. But Rune had opened up space available to him due to his defensive location and easily made a successful passing shot.

Tsitsipas attempted the drop shot, trying to take advantage of his opponent’s distant position. But Rune was energetic and fast on the clay, managing to reach the ball in time.

In the fourth set, Rune broke early for 3-2, taking Tsitsipas’s serve to his backhand exceptionally early. He blocked it towards the Greek, who fumbled the ball due to its return speed.

After patiently constructing the point, Rune had some winners of his own, especially on the forehand. He managed to win the set, defeating Tsitsipas 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Rune vs Tsitsipas, 2022 French Open, Fourth-Round

Sinner Faces Untimely Exit at Roland Garros

In an unfortunate turn of events, Italian favourite and number 11 seed Jannik Sinner had to withdraw from the tournament halfway through his match with number 7 seed Andrey Rublev.

This fourth-round event began as a vicious fight between two players with potent forehands, able to play the shot at speed, both with and without topspin.

Each tried to take the ball early on the return of serve and dominate with the forehand right from the outset of the rally.

The points were generally kept short with a few extended rallies, one player attacking the other’s backhand, waiting for a chance to attack down the line.

But on Sinner’s serve at 1-2 during the second set, he appeared to be struggling with a tender knee. The injury persisted, and Sinner had to withdraw from the match, handing Rublev the win, 1-6, 6-4, 2-0.

Djokovic and Nadal Set Up Grand Slam Clash

djokovic nadal roland garros

The defending champion Novak Djokovic and 13-time winner Rafael Nadal won their fourth-round matches and will battle for a place in the semi-finals on Tuesday night.

Djokovic overcame Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3, 6-3, while Nadal had a lengthy tussle against Canadian young-gun Felix Auger-Aliassime, but finally prevailed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal vs Auger-Aliassime, 2022 French Open, Fourth-round

Last year was just the third time Nadal had been defeated at Roland Garros.

Tactically, Tuesday’s match will be interesting in seeing what Nadal has learned from his more recent encounters with Djokovic and whether the Serb will repeat his approach.

His blend of a heavy topspin and powerful forehand, a flat backhand down the line, and his signature French Open drop shot outmanoeuvred Nadal, who will not want to pass up the chance of another Roland Garros final next week.

How far will Rune’s current level take him in the tournament? How does Rublev’s attacking style match up to the rest of the field left in the draw? And who will win in the titanic battle between Djokovic and Nadal? Leave your comments below.

Alex Nulliah

My name is Alex Nulliah and I am a tennis writer from Bath. I enjoy writing about tennis, International Relations and anything else which takes my interest. At Exeter University I took a BA in History and an MA in Applied Security Strategy. I love playing tennis.

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22 Comments

  1. Anyone watched Rune/Ruud match? Rune calls Ruud unsportsly afterwards. True? Or is Rune just unmatured loser?

    1. “In the locker room, he and his team have to pass me. The team is actually very sweet, but then he just goes straight to me and shouts ‘JAAAA’ straight up in my face”

      Is what Rune said, and also about checking a mark during the match.

      Seems unlikely based on Ruud’s on-court behaviour, but who knows what he is like behind closed doors.

      1. Well he said something about Ruud’s on court behavior, that he was talking a lot to him, (but not what he said). So he didn’t want to hug him after, just gave a high-five and not looking into his eyes. But after some time he seems to get thoughts about his emotional mood so as not again coming in the way of his competence when playing. … Maybe in reality Rune was mostly angry about his own lesser ability this time to prevail. A young man’s dream crushed, probably momentarily

      2. What “JAAA” means in Norwegian or Danish? 😉 Insult or nice joke? Or just a scream to frighten someone?
        Maybe they have some inner-Nordic rivalry we are not aware of? 😉

      3. I think the “JAAAAA” yelling may be translated as YEA, I WON! AND YOUUUU did NOT! At least, thats what I guess was Rune’s interpretation.

      4. Was it supposedly before or after the match? Wouldn’t be nice (or a not perfect joke ;)). Who knows, how it was meant?
        And I don’t think Rune to be unmatured loser. He’s gone further than superstar Alcaraz, so hard to tell, he is a loser. In this context calling someone “loser” is not a statement of the fact of suffering the loss. Rune was certainly underdog, did give a good fight and took a set and was close to take another one. Ruud is 23 years old so kind of veteran and ranked 8 – not s shame to lose to him. Rine is just starting his way up. He is still a kid.

      5. Today RUNE sitting at the TV and screaming into RUUD’s face “JAAAAAAAA” 😉

      6. Hen told it was after the match, in the lockerroom. Ruud denies. No,no, Rune is of course not a tennis-loser as such. Just this match. And maybe his temper sometimes.

      7. Hmmm. Rune says. Ruud denies. One is lying?
        Whatever it was, was certainly meaningless.
        I have seen them at the net after the last ballmark check, which decided the match and Rune kept the exchange at the net very short, while Ruud’s reaction was like “Ah, these kids!”.
        Rune was for sure disappointed because of having his chances.
        No, Rune is not a loser, rather sometimes overagressive to produce errors. Quite normal at this age.
        We will hear from Rune and he will learn to hold his temperament in limits.
        Remember Zverev, when he was that young? He matured first 2-3 years ago.

      8. And actually Rune has had a more remarkable run in Paris than Ruud, by beating Shapovalov and Tsitsipas.

      9. No one in the world of tennis but here is talking about this. What kind of tennis blog is this? LOL.

        Nadal just won his 14th RG and his 22nd GS. GOAT

      10. Dear Pablo,
        This is Roger Federer’s blog and people are sometimes chatting about another subjects.
        Of course everyone is aware of Nadal’s big achievement. And of course the whole world is speaking about. What would we add to it by mentioning the fact also here?
        I’m maintaining Thiem blog (as you probably know), I don’t write there articles about Federer or Nadal. I know where to go to talk about them.
        Do you think, Thiem fans can not get enough about Nadal in the general tennis media or on his page or blog? They don’t expect it from me. They are coming there to find something about Thiem, not about say Alcaraz and it’s not a problem to find tons of comments about Nadal’s success. Everyone is full of respect and some also of happiness for him. The story is spectacular (while the match was not, given quite weak opponent for RG final). I guess, if you prepare an article and ask Jonathan to publish it here, he will do it 🙂 Then some here will certainly have to say something (as a comment to your article, not the story itself). Want to see the Nadal story here? Ask Jonathan 🙂

  2. I was watching only parts of the match and was not aware of the “unsportsmanship” story. Only read Ruud’s comment after the match like “he is young, so it’s forgivable, but once you stay on this kind of arena and this stage of tournament, would be time to get matured a bit” (it’s just grabbed from my lose memory, not a quote”.
    Ruud has so far perfect sportsmanship record. Rune is very young and could have overreacted (his temperament could be called “explosive” compared with Ruud’s 😉
    I think, it’s mainly media hunting for stories.
    Anyway it was a good match and Rune has showed potential to go high.

    1. PRF, thank you for responding. And of course, maybe more than half of it is “media hunting for stories”

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