Rising star Rune thumps 14th seed Shapovalov in straight sets

Rising star Rune thumps 14th seed Shapovalov in straight sets

PARIS — Danish teenager Holger Rune swept aside 14th seed Denis Shapovalov in straight sets at the French Open on Tuesday to earn his first win in a Grand Slam tournament and confirm his status as one of the sport’s brightest prospects.

The 19-year-old, who won his maiden tour title in Munich this month, powered past the Canadian world number 15 with ease, winning 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(4) and showing no nerves.

“I’m really positive and working hard every day to get better. This is what you work for every day, to be able to play the biggest tournaments,” the baby-faced teenager with a bright smile told a news conference.

“You know, I’m super happy and pleased to be in this position right now, to be able to have chances against these guys, to be able to, you know, win my first title in Munich was a huge step forward in my career.”

A former French Open junior champion at 16, Rune looked extremely comfortable on the red clay on the outside Court 12, cruising through the first two sets in less than an hour with Shapovalov having no answer to his power and serial drop shots.

“I just really like playing it (drop shot), especially on the backhand side,” Rune said.

“It’s very natural for me and I think it’s good, especially here on clay when opponents are far behind the baseline, to mix it up. It’s also more fun to watch,” he said.

Rune had the chance to finish the contest with his first match point at 5-4 but sent an easy forehand into the net and gifted Shapovalov a set point two games later.

Another superb drop shot restored order and forced a tiebreak which Rune won when Shapovalov fired a forehand wide.

The teenager shot up from the 400s in the rankings in 2021 to the top 100 early this year.

He has already improved his ranking to world number 40, a major accomplishment considering he played for the first time in the main draw of an ATP tournament just over a year ago.

“I’m improving every day. I’m trying to improve 1% every day to get, you know, always to do things a little better than the day before,” he said. — Reuters