It was a big battle the one of the Scandinavian derby worth a spot in the ATP Masters 1000 final of Rome. Holger Rune came back from a set and break down to claim his first ever victory against Casper Ruud.
“It was a difficult start for me,” admitted the Dane: “I think he played really, really strong. Obviously, I had not a good record against him. I had to find a different solution to beat him today. I told myself to relax when I was down 4-2 and just enjoy the moment, try to play the tennis that I like. I managed to do that and play better and better. I think at the end of the third set I played some of my best tennis”.
Similar reading, though obviously perceived from the opposite end for the Norwegian: “It’s tennis, I guess. I mean, I had the lead and felt like the finish line was close, but it wasn’t in the end. Holger broke back. I played some poor shots, did a couple of bad mistakes. That’s how it goes”.
“It was a well-played match until maybe the third set. I was very happy with the level that we played at for almost two sets. Third set was unfortunately poor by me. I’m going to try to sort of erase that from the memory as quick as possible. There were some great rallies. It was a fun match to play. Also I think I crowd enjoyed it”, he concluded.
However, one of the turning point of the match was a small interruption caused by a Medical Time-Out requested by Rune in the second set.
“I would like to think (it was) not (tactics)”, explained the world number four: “but I don’t know. It was for the shoulder. I don’t know, when I broke him, he didn’t serve particularly slow. It would only be guessing. But I think if you have pain, you have the right to take the physio. It’s completely allowed to take a medical timeout. It seemed like it helped him a lot. He played very, very well in the second and third set coming back. Yeah, if there was pain, sure it obviously helped him a lot I think”.
“I take a medical timeout when I have a problem and when I feel pain”, explained the Dane on the topic: “I think it’s allowed. If you feel the pain, why not? I mean, there’s ATP physio. You have the opportunity to use him”.
Regardless of that, Rune is now waiting to know who will be his rival in the final and is already projected to it: “It’s both going to be tough players to play in the final. They’re both great. Medvedev obviously starting to play much better on clay this season. Stef always played great on clay. It’s going to be interesting. I just got to recover now and try to play my best tomorrow.”