She pushes the Next Gen hard at the door. Not the one, blocked by a “Big Three” which today belongs to History, Thiem, Zverev, Tsitsipas or Medvedev, but that of the Alcaraz, still world No. 1 today, Félix Auger-Aliassime or Holger Rune . The 19-year-old Dane has also distinguished himself this week by offering nothing less than four top 10s with victories over Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and “FAA”. And he had launched his tournament with a victory over the ghost Stan Wawrinka, one of the rare men to have been able to look the “Big Three” straight in the eye.
And he did not stop on the way since he ended his week by overthrowing Novak Djokovic (3-6, 6-3, 7-5), depriving him of a seventh title in Paris and a 91st title. in career. By the way, Rune becomes the first player to beat five top 10s before winning a tournament. Exceptional. Like his progression in the standings which saw him start the season in 103rd place to occupy 103rd place on Monday. Don’t throw any more, the cup is full.
Djokovic wins the first set without playing his best tennis
To get there and lift the Rolex Paris Masters trophy, Rune will have had to erase a first set where he had clearly evolved a notch below the standards to which he had accustomed us since the beginning of the week. Less sharp, probably not insensitive to the pressure of a first Masters 1000 final, he let Djokovic take control without forcing him to play his best tennis. Thus, it was on two double faults in a row that he offered the break to Djokovic (3-1). The Serb would quickly lead a set to zero, but without having left an impression of invincibility.
Rune enters the game
In fact, Rune was going to take advantage of one of Djokovic’s usual slumps to quickly break at the start of the second set (2-0). The defending champion could notably blame himself, but it is a habit with him, not to support his smashes enough. Relaunched, Rune began to put the public in the pocket and dropped more and more winning points. Solid on his service games, he gave Djokovic no opportunity to return to the set.
Djokovic and missed opportunities
Then came a third set which was bound to be undecided. The age difference between the two men, 16, unheard of in the final since an Agassi-Nadal at the Canadian Open in 2005, was it going to weigh in the balance? In 2005, Nadal won over Agassi in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-2)…
In Paris, it was Djokovic who got off to the best start with a break once again offered by Rune on a double fault (3-1). But Djokovic was not at his best and made some bad choices, pushed too hard by the huge defense shown by the Dane. Débreak de Rune in stride, the tension went up a notch. The younger of the two opponents amazed with a monstrous game to equalize at 5-5. Behind, Djokovic harvested a forehand without any difficulty to offer the break to Rune (6-5).
Novak Djokovic, who had the break in the last round, finally gave in. (P. Lahalle/The Team)
In the final game, Djokovic was going to get no less than 6 break points. But, while he was too passive in the draws, Rune was intractable with his back to the wall, well helped by three faults from Djokovic on his chances to equalize. For his part, Rune got two match points. His seventh double fault spoiled the first. On the second, he fired a pass that pushed Djokovic to make a mistake before collapsing on the court. Sacred youth.