Holger Rune moved to within one win of capturing his second ATP Masters 1000 title on Saturday, when he scripted a comeback victory against Casper Ruud at the Italian Open here.
In a tight clash, the Dane rallied from a break down in the second set to overcome the fourth seed Ruud 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2 and earn his 27th win of the season.
Saturday’s semi-final between the Norwegian Ruud and Dane Rune was the first all-Scandinavian Masters 1000 semi-final since Jonas Bjorkman defeated Thomas Enqvist in Paris in 1997, according to the ATP.
Rune, who is making his debut in Rome, defeated Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals. He backed up that standout win with a clean-hitting performance against Ruud to improve to 1-4 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“I had nothing to lose in the second (set), so I just told myself to play freely and enjoy it as I thought it would be my last set here,” Rune said.
“I told myself to play aggressively and enjoy it and I did it and that was the key to the comeback.” The Dane has enjoyed a strong clay-court season, reaching the final in Monte-Carlo before he clinched the crown in Munich. He holds a 13-2 record on the surface for the year.
The other semi-final featuring Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended because of heavy rain with the score reading 4-4 in the first set.
Written with inputs from AP/PTI