Holger Rune took his stellar late-season form to another level on Saturday at the Rolex Paris Masters, where the #NextGenATP Dane snapped Felix Auger-Aliassime‘s 16-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 victory to reach his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final.
Rune took control early in a meeting between two of the in-form players on the ATP Tour, using his aggressive groundstrokes to dictate play wherever possible and heap pressure on the Auger-Aliassime serve. Both players were competing for a spot in their fourth consecutive ATP Tour final, but the 19-year-old Rune converted three of eight break points to wrap a comprehensive 88-minute win.
“It was an unbelievable match from my side today,” said Rune after his triumph. “I really was sticking to the game plan for the whole match and just taking every chance I got. Putting Felix under pressure, that’s what my game plan was all about, and I managed to do it almost perfectly. I am super proud how I handled everything.”
Fourth final in a row. Fourth top-10 win in a row ?@holgerrune2003 snaps Auger-Aliassime’s SIXTEEN-match winning streak to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final in Paris!#RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/gcfq107ye9
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 5, 2022
Having moved past Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime in his past four matches in Paris, Rune will now aim for five Top 10 victories in as many days in Sunday’s championship match. His opponent will be six-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas, with a win for Rune set to lift the 19-year-old into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.
Saturday’s semi-final was the second meeting between Rune and Auger-Aliassime in the space of six days, following the latter’s straight-sets triumph in the Basel final on Sunday. Yet the Canadian could not match Rune’s intensity or quality in Paris as the Dane convincingly halted Auger-Aliassime’s unbeaten run.
“I saw some statistic that [my] backhand is going well in this tournament,” said Rune when asked about his dominant win. “So I tried to use that a little bit, especially against Felix who has such a great forehand and serve.
“It’s good to play the game more on that side, and that was what I tried to do. To put pressure there, move him around, and it worked really well. I really feel the groundstrokes, the returns were much better than I did the last time I played.”
“I have to give him a lot of credit,” reflected Auger-Aliassime. “He kind of exposed weaknesses in my game. He was just playing so aggressively without missing. I haven’t seen or I haven’t played many players that were this aggressive and hitting that hard, that deep.”
Rune had been unable to break the Auger-Aliassime serve across two tight sets in Basel but he was able to forge a breakthrough in just the third game of the match this time around. A combination of some smart returning and Auger-Aliassime netting a straightforward forehand drive volley on break point gave the Dane a 2-1 lead, and he held on comfortably to claim a set in which he made 89 per cent (24/27) of first serves.
Despite some flashes of brilliance, Auger-Aliassime struggled to match the level he had shown throughout his remarkable winning streak. The Florence, Antwerp and Basel champion could find no way to regularly counter Rune’s forays to the net, and the Dane raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set en route to completing his 18th tour-level win in 20 matches.
That strong recent record includes Rune winning his second ATP Tour title in Stockholm, in between runs to the championship match in Sofia and Basel. His exploits this week in Paris have lifted the 19-year-old six spots to No. 12 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and the Dane’s excellent performances have also strengthened his position as one of the favourites for next week’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.