"I Can Beat Anyone": Teenager Holger Rune Declares After Making French Open Quarter-Finals Defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas
Holger Rune, just 19 and ranked 40, swept to a memorable 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over the 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas on the back of 54 winners
Teenager Holger Rune became the first Danish man to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday when he shocked world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas and declared: "I can beat anyone". Rune, just 19 and ranked 40, swept to a memorable 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over the 2021 runner-up on the back of 54 winners and will face Norway's eighth seed Casper Ruud for a place in the semi-finals. The last Danish man to reach the last-eight at any Slam was Jan Leschly in the 1967 US Championships. "I have strong belief in myself that if I really focus and play my tennis, I can beat almost everybody on tour," said Rune.
"But also, I really have to be in the moment, because if not, everybody can also beat me. So it's really about just staying focused and focus mostly on the tennis."
With fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz already into the quarter-finals, it is the first time two teenagers have made it this far in Paris since Hendrik Dreekman and Andrei Medvedev 28 years ago.
Rune, only a week older than the world number six, shrugged off comparisons with the Spaniard after adding Tsitsipas to his impressive collection of big name victims.
He saw off third-ranked Alexander Zverev on his way to a maiden title in Munich on clsy in the build-up to Roland Garros.
"I think he deserve all the attention that he's getting. He's been doing some incredible things, beating Novak, Rafa, all these guys," added Rune.
"He deserves it, and he's also improving a lot every time. For me it's not a problem. I'm going at my own pace, improving at my own time. I mean, everybody has their own journey, and this is mine."
In a tense fourth set on Monday, Rune gave up a 5-2 lead and fought off three more break points in the 10th game before he secured victory when his Greek opponent hit long.
"I was very nervous and I knew that if I went away from my tactics I would lose," said Rune.
"I told myself just stick to the plan and that gave me a confidence boost. It's so great to still be here.
"My plan was to be aggressive because Stefanos can attack the short balls. I needed to take time off him."
Rune recovered from a break down in the opening set to lead but Tsitsipas appeared to have steadied himself when he fought off three break points in the third game of the second set on his way to levelling the last-16 tie.
Rune carved out a key break for a 4-2 lead in the third set as he edged ahead once again in the match.
Despite being seeded to make the semi-finals, Tsitsipas had endured a testing French Open, coming back from two sets to love behind to defeat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round.
He then required four sets and four hours to see off Czech qualifier and 134th-ranked Zdenek Kolar in round two.
The Greek was unable to shake off his struggles against Rune in the fourth set on Monday and slipped down a double break to trail 3-2 and then 5-2.