The Dane was outside of the top-100 at the beginning of the season, and could finish in the top-10. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, November 5, 2022

Riding a career-best run of four consecutive wins against the Top-10, Danish teen Holger Rune is confirming his newfound status as an elite talent on tour in Paris.

Tennis Express

Already with a pair of titles to his name in 2022, Rune continues to turn heads with an aggressive, physical baseline game that is perfectly suited for indoor tennis. He ranks second on the ATP Tour with 20 wins on hard courts (against four losses), and with today’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime he is one victory away from making a Top-10 debut.

Rune is into his first Masters 1000 title after wins over Stan Wawrinka (saving three match points), Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime.

He will face the ultimate test when he takes on six-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday at Bercy.

His victim on Saturday says that there wasn’t much he could do against the blistering attack of the 19-year-old on Saturday.

“I feel like because of the way he was playing and how good he was playing, I have to give him a lot of credit,” Auger-Aliassime said. “He kind of exposed weaknesses in my game.

"He was just playing so aggressively without missing. I haven't seen or I haven't played many players that were this aggressive and hitting that hard, that deep.”

Rune started his season very much unproven, at 103 in the world, making his climb well inside the top-20 in ten months’ time all the more impressive.

Auger-Aliassime admitted that he was surprised with just how quickly Rune has become a force against top talent on tour.

“I'm surprised, yes,” he said. “I knew he had a lot of qualities… But I'm surprised, and I have to say hats off to him for his wonderful rise in the ranking. He has played very well throughout this season. He's also had very tough moments, which is not normal for someone who is 18 years old. He managed to be in the final in Stockholm, in Basel. It's very incredible at his age. He hasn't been much on the tour. Hats off to him, because he's exceptional.”

Rune improved to 38-24 on the season with Saturday’s win. The former Junior No.1, who is coached by Lars Christensen and managed and mentored by his mother, Aneke, trains at the Mouratoglou Academy and has Patrick Mouratoglou traveling with his team as the season winds down.

He’s proven to be a quick study, quickly sizing up and learning how to impose himself against the tour’s best, on all surfaces.

The Dane says his ability to stay composed on the court – something he displayed in spades on Friday when he was forced to put his serve on ice for ten minutes while Carlos Alcaraz had an injury looked at during the pair’s quarterfinal in Paris – is one of the things that his aiding his ascent.

Rune just patiently waited for the Medical Timeout to end then served out the next game to force a tiebreak. He eventually won when Alcaraz retired, 6-3, 6-6 RET.

“I would say I work on it as much as I work on my serve, forehand, my backhand,” he said of his mental game. “You know, it's all small things that can improve all the time. It's mental, it's physical, it's tennis. It's everything. “To do 1 percent better every day, that's really what I'm trying to do. To improve every small thing, to try to get things better, no matter if it's warmup, a little more better every day, because it's the small things that make the big difference.”

Auger-Aliassime – and many of his peers – tend to be more impressed by the high-octane groundstrokes Rune plays. The Dane goes on the attack and stays on the attack, forcing his opponents to defend.

He’s relentless, and thanks to improved stamina and experience, he can execute and cash in on his tactics without too many dips.

“Today he was very aggressive,” the Canadian said. “He was playing very strongly on both sides. He's serving much better. He served very well during the last weeks. But he's serving much better. I think he improved from a physical point of view, as well.

“Before it was hard to have so many matches under his belt in a row. It means that he has improved physically, so it will be interesting to see next year how things will unroll.”