Danish teenager Holger Rune produced the shock of the week when he took out the 21-time grand slam winner and Rolex Paris Masters defending champion to claim the title for himself.
It means everything to me, a perfect way to finish the week. It was an incredible tournament Holger Rune
Djokovic, who looked on course to claiming his seventh Paris title when he swept through the first set only to find that his young opponent had more grit in him than he had expected, stormed back to clinch the third title of his young career, 3-6 6-3 7-5 and his first at Masters level.
And at 19, he became the youngest winner of the Paris tournament since an 18-year-old Boris Becker in 1986 having beaten five top-10 players in as many days to also become the first to do so at the same event.
In addition he is the fifth first-time Masters winner this season and will be the first Danish man to break into the top 10 when the new world rankings are released on Monday.
“It means everything to me, a perfect way to finish the week,” Rune said following his historic win. “It was an incredible tournament.”
After winning the title in Stockholm either side of runner-up finishes in Sofia and Basel, Rune began his run to a fourth straight final by saving three match points in the opening round to beat Stan Wawrinka.
He then took down Hubert Hurkacz followed by Andrey Rublev before seeing off Carlos Alcaraz as the world number one retired with injury while trailing by a set in the quarter finals.
Rune snapped Felix Auger-Aliassime’s 16-match winning streak to set up the clash with Djokovic, who had not lost at Bercy since his defeat to Karen Khachanov in the 2018 final.
“For somebody who is so young to show this composure and maturity in the big match like this is very impressive. He’s had a week of his life,” the former world No.1 Djokovic said.
The 35-year-old Serb came into Sunday’s final having won 21 of 22 matches since the start of Wimbledon, which he won for the seventh time in July to match Pete Sampras’s record.
The 16-year age gap between the two finalists was the biggest in a Masters final since Rafael Nadal, then 19, defeated 35-year-old Andre Agassi in Montreal in 2005.
“It was the most stressful game of my life,” Rune commented after securing his excellent victory after fending off six break points in the final game of the two-hour and 34-minute final. “My heart was almost in my brain. I was already starting to think about the tie-break. I’m very proud I could finish it.”
Rune has qualified for next week’s Next Gen Finals in Milan, but with his latest success he has also become the first alternate for the ATP Finals in Turin from 13-20 November where Djokovic will be chasing a record-equalling sixth title.
“Of course I’m disappointed with the loss today, but I was very close,” Djokovic said.
“It was just very few points that decided a winner. But the level of tennis that I’m playing is high, and I like my chances (in Turin).
“Every match is like a final there. There are no easy matches.”