36-year-old Novak Djokovic continues to defeat next-generation tennis players.
In Friday’s quarterfinals at the Paris Masters, he evened up his head-to-head record at two each with 20-year-old Danish player Holger Rune.
Always entertaining when these two match up 🍿
Djokovic and Rune deliver the match of the day presented by @Lexus #RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/v8znrk1fF7
— ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) November 3, 2023
Nothing about this victory was easy for Djokovic who was challenged every step of the way by Rune.
In the tightest of opening sets between Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune in Paris, there was just a single break point.
When it came, Djokovic was ready.
The top seed leads 7-5 against the defending champion.#RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/OiRsssHRGQ
— LoveGameTennis 🎾 (@LoveGame_Tennis) November 3, 2023
Rune’s 2023 campaign proved to be a disappointing one as he dealt with lingering injuries including one to his back limiting his preparation.
This could explain why Rune was cramping up at critical junctures in the match.
For his part, Djokovic somehow managed to overcome adversity from the crowd, his opponent, and his physical issues.
In the previous round, he admitted to dealing with stomach issues in Paris.
IDEMO NOLE 🇷🇸😤
Djokovic downs Rune 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 to secure his place in the semifinals!#RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/YrSkdGAdiU
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) November 3, 2023
Djokovic will next face Andrey Rublev in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Rune-Boris Becker Partnership Is Off To A Good Start
Rune recently announced that teenage tennis legend Boris Becker would be working with him through the end of the season.
ATP 1000 PARIS R16: Holger Rune wins 6-3, 6-3 against Daniel Altmaier
Been really good to see Holger playing well the last 2 weeks, the addition of Boris Becker has really helped the energy in that team.
— Tennis Updates (@TennisUpdates23) November 2, 2023
This seems like a good fit because Rune is on an upward trajectory at a very young age, and Becker can identify and help him at this critical stage of his career.
It is a small tennis world as Becker coached Djokovic nearly ten years ago.
Djokovic in seeing Boris Becker in the opposing coaches’ box: “It was strange to see Boris in the opposing box, but I knew it might happen already this week. I wish Holger and him all the best in Turin.”
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) November 3, 2023
Rune could face Djokovic again this season as he qualified for the first time for the 2023 ATP Finals in Turin.