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Rune stuns Djokovic to win Paris Masters and reach Top 10

There have been conflicting signs throughout the 2022 ATP season when it comes to a potential “changing of the guard” on tour. On one hand, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has climbed to No. 1 in the world. On the other hand, three of the four Grand Slams were won by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

In the ongoing battle of the generations, you can score one for the younger guys at the Rolex Paris Masters. Sunday’s championship match saw Djokovic get upset by 19-year-old Holger Rune 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and 33 minutes.

After splitting the first two sets, Djokovic seemed to take control when Rune double-faulted on break point at 1-2 in the third. However, the 35-year-old Serb gave the break right back for 3-2. Both players held from there en route to 5-5, which is when Rune struck again for what proved to be a decisive break. To say that he didn’t have an easy time serving it out, however, would be a massive understatement. The 6-5 game lasted almost 15 minutes, during which Rune saved six break points before finally clinching his second championship point with a forehand pass that forced Djokovic to net a forehand volley.

Rune will soar to No. 10 in the world on Monday and he will be the first alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

“It was the most stressful game of my life,” the Dane said of serving for victory. “My heart was almost in my brain. I was already starting to think about the tiebreak. I’m very proud I could finish it.

“It means everything to me–a perfect way to finish the week. It’s a privilege to share the court with Novak…. I’m feeling lovely, to be honest; it’s the best feeling. If you told me four weeks ago I would be top 10…I would be like, ‘What, sorry?’ Now I’m here and I’m super proud.”

As for Djokovic, his sights are now set on the year-end championship.

“Of course I’m disappointed with the loss today, but I was very close,” he reflected. “It was just very few points that decided a winner. But the level of tennis that I’m playing is high, and I like my chances (in Turin). Of course, every match is like a final there. There are no easy matches.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.