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Rune Stun Djokovic In Action-Packed Match To Reach Rome Semis, Will Meet Ruud

Novak Djokovic was beaten by Holger Rune in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open. Rune shook off his frustration at a contested line call, and an hour-long rain interruption, to beat the world No. 1 in three sets. Djokovic will now turn his attentions to preparing for the French Open, while Rune will face Casper Ruud in the semi-finals, after he saw off Francisco Cerundolo.

Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open after losing a rain-interrupted and occasionally heated match against Holger Rune.

Defending champion Djokovic was outplayed by Rune, who recorded his second successive win over the world No. 1 after also beating him in the Paris Masters final in November.

Rune recovered from a hotly-contested line call that went against him in the second set and also an hour-long rain delay to win 6-2 4-6 6-2.

Rune will face Casper Ruud in the semi-finals after the Norwegian got past Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets, while Djokovic will turn his attentions to the French Open, which starts on May 28.

The result means it is the first time neither Djokovic or Rafael Nadal will be in the Italian Open final since 2004.

“It’s really a big win for me,” said Rune in his on-court interview.

“Obviously I did it last year in Paris as well, but every match is a huge challenge for me when I play against Novak. He’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game. I knew I had to be at my best and I said it yesterday, and I was today. I’m super proud of myself and I enjoyed every moment out there.”

Rune made a strong start as he broke in the opening game with a backhand winner.

The 20-year-old fended off two break points in the next game as he held for a 2-0 lead.

Djokovic looked below his best, missing with drop shots and not finding his range with his groundstrokes in slow conditions.

Another break put Rune 4-1 ahead and he served out the set in confident fashion.

But the second set swung on a contentious moment that appeared to go against Rune.

With Rune up 40-30 on serve, he stopped play as he thought a ball on the baseline had landed out.

However, umpire Mohamed Lahyani came down from his chair and ruled it in, to the disbelief of Rune. After arguing his case with the umpire, Rune slammed his towel down in frustration.

As rain started to fall, Rune’s mood was not improved as Djokovic played his best rally of the match to earn a break point. Rune then missed a smash to give Djokovic a 4-2 lead.

Rune continued to vent his frustration at the umpire at the next change of ends and also called for a medical time out.

As Hawk-eye showed the disputed ball had indeed been out, Rune regained his composure in impressive fashion by firing down a love hold and then breaking as Djokovic served for the set, including winning a 34-shot rally.

But then the rain arrived at a bad time for Rune as he was behind 0-30 on serve.

Play was suspended for an hour and when it resumed Djokovic won the next two points – the first with a brilliant drop shot – to take the set.

As it looked like the momentum might be edging towards Djokovic, instead it was Rune who seized back control in remarkable style in the third set.

The world No. 7 won the opening four games of the set as Djokovic debated with the umpire over a time violation on his serve and struggled to stick with his sprightly opponent.

Rune sealed a memorable win when Djokovic hit a forehand long.

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