Novak Djokovic lost to Holger Rune in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open. Rune, a 20-year-old Danish player, had previously defeated Djokovic at the Paris Masters Final in November of the previous year. Djokovic said that the constantly damp conditions at Foro Italico made it challenging for him.
Rune gave Djokovic a hard time with his rapid court coverage. Rune broke Djokovic’s serve twice early in the third set and made the Serbian commit 35 unforced errors to Rune’s 15, with 22 of those coming on his forehand.
Djokovic, who has won the Italian Open six times in the past, including last year, will lose the No. 1 ranking to Carlos Alcaraz next week.
However, Rune is boosting his credentials as a Grand Slam contender after a solid season on clay that included a runner-up finish in the Monte Carlo Masters, a title in Munich, and now a semifinal spot in his first main draw appearance in Rome.
“If it’s working against Novak, it works against almost anybody,” Rune said of his performance. He is demonstrating great potential for the upcoming French Open.
In the women’s tournament, Jelena Ostapenko reached her first semifinal on clay since winning the 2017 French Open. Ostapenko beat Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.