Rune Rides Lucky Break Into Basel SFs, Eyes Felix Revenge

  • Posted: Oct 27, 2023

Rune Rides Lucky Break Into Basel SFs, Eyes Felix Revenge

Dane has shot at revenge Saturday against Auger-Aliassime, who saved a match point to advance

Holger Rune parlayed a massive stroke of fortune deep in a third-set tie-break to reach the semi-finals at the Swiss Indoors Basel Friday and boost his chances of remaining within the cut for the Nitto ATP Finals.

Having just squandered two match points against Tomas Martin Etcheverry to allow the Argentine back onto even terms at 6-all in the deciding-set tie-break, Rune benefitted from a dead netcord from a heavy forehand strike that left Etcheverry no chance of reaching.

The World No. 32 dropped his racquet in disgust and on the following point double faulted to hand a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(6) victory to the 20-year-old Dane, who currently occupies the final spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race for a place in Turin.

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On Saturday Rune will have the opportunity to avenge his loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime in last year’s final when he takes on the Canadian, who also reached the semi-finals on the back of a third-set tie-break win. The Canadian saved a match point to beat qualifier Alexander Shevchenko 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(1).

“It was super difficult and Tomas has played great all tournament and had a super season. It was a fun match to play,” Rune said following his two-hour, 41-minute win. “I was super lucky at the end, I have never had as much luck in my life. Of course I am happy to win but I feel for him as I know how it feels myself when these kind of things happen. I am happy with my level. It was a tough match physically, so I am proud of myself.”

Rune is eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin on 3,280 points, 225 points clear of ninth-placed Taylor Fritz, who lost in the second round in Basel. Rune can jump to seventh if he wins his second title of the season this week after seventh-placed Alexander Zverev fell to Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals in Vienna.

Rune came into Basel having won just one of his past nine matches.

Auger-Aliassime has also been struggling for form in the second half of the season, winning just three of his past 15 matches before emerging from his slump with a run to the Tokyo quarterfinals last week. The World No. 19, who last year qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, saved a match point on Shevchenko’s serve in the 10th game of the final set.

“I don’t want to say [I’m back] yet, but I’m on my way back and this is a crucial win; it’s amazing to get through a match like this,” he said. “To be able to come back and recover, that’s big for me.”

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