Teenager Holger Rune became the first Danish man to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday when he shocked world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, declaring “I can beat anyone”. Rune, only 19 and ranked 40, took a memorable 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 runner-up victory in 2021 on the back of 54 winners and will face eighth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway for a place in the semifinals. The last Danish man to make it to the last eight in a Slam was Jan Leschly at the 1967 US Championships. “I have a strong belief in myself that if I really focus and play my tennis, I can beat almost anyone on tour” Rune said.
“But I also really have to be in the moment, because if not, anyone can beat me too. So it’s really about staying focused and focusing mainly on the tennis.”
With 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz already in the quarter-finals, it is the first time that two teenagers have come this far in Paris since Hendrik Dreekman and Andrei Medvedev 28 years ago.
Rune, only a week older than the world’s number six, shook off comparisons with the Spaniard after adding Tsitsipas to his impressive collection of big names.
He defeated third-seeded Alexander Zverev on his way to a maiden title in Munich at clsy ahead of Roland Garros.
“I think he deserves all the attention he’s getting. He’s done incredible things beating Novak, Rafa and all these guys,” Rune added.
“He deserves it, and he also improves a lot every time. For me it’s not a problem. I go at my own pace, improve in my own time. I mean, everyone has their own journey, and this is mine.”
In a thrilling fourth set on Monday, Rune gave up a 5-2 lead and fought away three more breakpoints in the 10th game before securing the win when his Greek opponent hit long.
“I was very nervous and I knew if I went off my tactics I would lose,” said Rune.
“I told myself to just stick to the plan and that gave me a confidence boost. It’s so great to still be here.
“My plan was to be aggressive because Stefanos can attack the short balls. I had to take some time from him.”
Rune recovered from a disturbance in the first set to take the lead, but Tsitsipas appeared to have stabilized himself as he fended off three breakpoints in the third game of the second set en route to leveling the last-16 tie.
Rune secured a key break for a 4-2 lead in the third set, while taking the lead again in the game.
Despite qualifying for the semi-finals, Tsitsipas had endured a testing French Open, coming back from two sets to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round.
It then took him four sets and four hours to beat Czech qualifier and 134th-ranked Zdenek Kolar in round two.
The Greek was unable to shake off his fight against Rune in the fourth set on Monday and slipped through a double break to a 3-2 deficit and then 5-2.
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