Tennis-Aided by double bounce, Rune battles past Cerundolo into quarter-finals
The 24-year-old, however, refused to buckle, snatching a 4-0 lead in the fourth, with Rune's unforced errors at that stage climbing to 52 and the Dane essentially giving up on the set. The battle started anew in the fifth with both holding serve until 4-4 and then each being broken once to go to a deciding tiebreak where Rune prevailed.
Danish sixth seed Holger Rune got a helping hand from the umpire with a missed but glaring double bounce to battle past Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6(7) on Monday and reach the French Open last eight for the second year in a row. He will next face Norway's fourth seed Casper Ruud in a repeat of last year's quarter-final.
"I definitely learned something from Australia earlier this year where I lost this kind of match in a (fifth set) match tiebreak at the end," said Rune, who lost in five sets to Andrey Rublev at the Australian Open. "I told myself in the beginning of the match tiebreak (today) just to enjoy the moment, try to play my tennis."
"At least go off the court with a smile on my face, because I played a good match. Because if you think too much about winning and losing you start to be tight and it hurts." Rune got off to a strong start, powering to a quick 4-1 lead with Cerundolo struggling with his opponent's serve that was on average more than 20kph faster than his own at that stage.
The 20-year-old comfortably held serve to go 5-2 up but started getting sloppy before snatching the first set in a tiebreak. But the mercurial Dane had by then lost the edge on his serve with Cerundolo breaking him to love to go 4-1 up in the second set with a superb heavy topspin lob.
He bagged it but soon the momentum would shift again. Rune was 2-1 up in the third at 40-all when he clearly failed to get to the ball in time and the second bounce was visible to all but chair umpire Kader Nouni.
With his opponent not admitting to the double bounce, Cerundolo, seething and threatening the umpire "with a fine", was broken on the next point, as Rune eventually went 4-1 up. Cerundolo was still fuming, mumbling to himself, when he launched a comeback to level but conceded the third set when Rune whipped a forehand down the line. The 24-year-old, however, refused to buckle, snatching a 4-0 lead in the fourth, with Rune's unforced errors at that stage climbing to 52 and the Dane essentially giving up on the set.
The battle started anew in the fifth with both holding serve until 4-4 and then each being broken once to go to a deciding tiebreak where Rune prevailed. Rune will now need to improve on last year's performance against Ruud when he lost a bad-tempered quarter-final.
"Obviously I lost last year and it is going to be the same scenario, we play in a quarter-final, maybe night session again, maybe not," the 20-year-old said. "Hopefully I can turn it around and make it different this year.
"Obviously there was drama last year and I hope we can make less drama this year," he said. "He's a good player. I respect him. There's no problem. We're good."
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