Holger Rune, the Danish teenager who celebrated his 19th birthday last Friday, when he was presented with a cake on court at the BMW Open in Munich following his comfortable quarter-final victory, remains on a high as he reached his first final on the Tour following a straight sets win over home favourite Oscar Otte.
I’m improving every day and at the end this is what matters,” Rune said later. “Because at the end, I have some goals to be No. 1 in the world and you have to start somewhere. I’m happy to be in Munich Holger Rune
His latest 6-4 6-4 victory kept his record of not dropping a set in Munich very much alive and in that run is the scalp of the top seeded Alexander Zverev who fell in round two for the loss of five games!
Throughout the match the young Dane was hyper as he roared back from 1-4 down in the opening set to string together a series of games to win 11 of the next 15 and stride into the title round as the third youngest Munich finalist in the tournament’s history.
His final shot of the day epitomised his character for to the delight of the packed crowd, he charged down to recover a drop shot, scooping it up for a winning cross court pass and then announced his victory with a huge scream while pounding his chest in true alpha male style.
“I’m improving every day and at the end this is what matters,” Rune said later. “Because at the end, I have some goals to be No. 1 in the world and you have to start somewhere. I’m happy to be in Munich.”
His efforts this week will certainly be reflected in the new rankings to be published Monday and he should rise some 20 places and break into the world’s top 50.
“I was pretty close [to losing a set] twice this tournament,” said Rune. “I was 4-1 down today and 5-2 in the first round [against Czech Jiri Lehecka]. I just tried to stay in the moment and stay calm, and this really helped me to get back from these kinds of positions. I was always focussed, and that’s what helped me.”
Rune will play another final debutant, the Dutchman Botic van der Zandschulp with the winner gaining the first title of their careers.
Earlier, van de Zandschulp reached his first career final by battling past Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4 which took him two hours and 52-minutes which might well affect his efforts in the final itself.
“I’m pretty tired,” van de Zandschulp admitted. “It was a long match, tough conditions, the court was so heavy, so I’m happy I made it through.
“It didn’t look like [I would] after the first set, so I’m really happy with the win.”
Although van de Zandschulp had struggled at times for consistency, the Dutchman was delighted with how he had coped with the wet conditions on a court which on this occasion, played differently to when he beat the second seed Casper Ruud on Friday.
“I had to adjust a little bit,” said van de Zandschulp. “It was slower than yesterday, a lot heavier than yesterday, and he did better than me in the first. [In the] second set I started to play better, smarter, and I’m happy I won 6-4 in the third.”
Kecmanovic started full of confidence breaking van de Zandschulp three times on his way to the first set, but the Dutchman found his game in the second though he still needed a tie-break to level the match despite having broken his opponent twice to get ahead.
In the decider it was the Dutchman who gained the early initiative, but he couldn’t shake off the stubborn Serbian until the tenth game when he finally converted a match-point, his second, on a Kecmanovic volleying error.