Paris | Rune and Ruud dominate play to meet in next round

The first of the highly anticipated match-ups was set up when the last four players came through to complete the quarter final line up and, should the pair continue to play at the high octane level of their French Open fourth round performances, tennis fans are in for a treat.

I’m happy that I had enough space to work with. This is the biggest clay court that we have Casper Ruud

Both Holger Rune and Casper Ruud had to battle through some strong opposition with the latter, last year’s runner-up at Roland Garros, making it through easier than his rival requiring three-hours and 20-minutes to grind down Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6(5) 7-5 7-5 while Rune was kept on court by Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo for just under four hours for his 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6(10-7) victory.

It was more than just a satisfactory victory for the fourth seed who had suffered a defeat by him in the Geneva quarter finals the week prior to Roland Garros, as the Chilean established a 7-match winning streak until this loss. The win also meant Ruud remained on track for a possible second appearance in this year’s French final.

Jarry, making his fourth appearance at Roland Garros, had never previously got past the first round but this year, the 27-year-old 6’ 6” player from Santiago, proved he has the talent to rise higher than his current 35th place in the world rankings.

The difference between the two was Ruud’s greater experience and choice of shot at crucial stages of the match but to Jarryd’s credit, he never dropped his head and battled throughout the three sets.

After claiming the first in what proved a comfortable tiebreak, the world number four was forced to recover from 4-1 and break point down to take the second set with Jarry netting an overhead smash at set point.

Jarry also broke serve in the third set but then gifted the break straight back and, when he also lost his service at 5-5, Ruud eased himself into the quarter final.

Nicolas Jarry shakes hands with Casper Ruud following their fourth round match

Clive Mason/Getty Images

“It’s difficult. His serve is great and he plays aggressively. I’m happy that I had enough space to work with. This is the biggest clay court that we have” Ruud said in his interview on Court Philippe Chatrier following the victory.

“I felt physically fine – I was ready for more if we had to play more.

“I was down a break in both the second and the third sets, but I was able to stay in and neutralise his serve and win the most important points of the match.”

Rune, playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, had much bigger problems against another South American, the big-hitting 24-year-old from Buenos Aires who certainly made life difficult for the young Dane, seeded 6.

Holger Rune showed plenty of grit to get through

Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

For virtually the whole three hour 59-minute contest, the outcome was never certain as the match evolved with more twists and turns than could be counted and by the time the fourth set came round, Rune looked to be out of contention as Cerundolo stormed through to level the match at 2-sets apiece.

In the fifth, Rune managed to raise his game and his energy levels but even so, it was the Argentine, playing in his first five-set match, who looked the stronger and as a consequence stood on the verge of victory when he held three break points in the eighth game. Had he been able to break he would be serving for the match but couldn’t convert any of them.

Lifted by that hold, Rune took advantage of his opponent’s disappointment to break him in the next game.

Rune, though, then also failed to close it out and with tension building, the pair were forced into a 10-point fifth set tie breaker which Rune was able to control better than his rival to close out a tight but exciting match.

Holger Rune embraces Francisco Cerundolo after their epic marathon

”He’s playing amazing, especially on clay,” Rune said later. “I think it’s a surface that suits his game very well. He has a big forehand, a big swing. So when he gets the time, as we saw when I was [serving] for the match, he hit two forehand winners and he was just too good. So, credit to him, he’s a very nice guy and I wish him all the best.”

Rune also remembered a similar loss he experienced: “I had a heart-breaking loss at the Australian Open. I told myself just to enjoy the moment; these are the moments that stay with you for your life.”

Tomas Martín Etcheverry keeps Argentine hopes alive

Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

But Argentina did have success later in the night matches when Tomas Martin Etcheverry took out the 27th seeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 7-6(8) 6-0 6-1 to reach the last eight.

“For me I have a lot of emotion right now. I think I am really, really happy. The best moment of my life,” Etcheverry, who has yet to drop a set, said after his third straight win over a seed.

“Of course, in the next round it’s going to be tough. Sascha Zverev, I think he has a lot of more experience than me, but I feel really good to play against him. I am playing incredible tennis this week, and just I have to focus on my game and trying to do the same, like I am doing every day.”

His quarter final match with Alexander Zverev will be a bigger test as the German is certainly regaining the lost form as he showed by cruising past Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-4 6-3.
Paris | Rune and Ruud dominate play to meet in next round



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