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Bad blood continues as Wawrinka downs Rune in Indian Wells

The rematch between Holger Rune and Stan Wawrinka did not disappoint–not on the court, not at the net, and not on social media. Unsurprisingly, it delivered all the goods.

Bad blood between the youngster and the veteran dates back to round one the Paris Masters last fall. Rune beat Wawrinka in a third-set tiebreaker, after which the Swiss told Rune at the net, “my advice to you is to stop acting like a baby on the court.”

Rune obviously didn’t forget it, either. There were no obvious incidents during Monday’s third-round showdown at the BNP Paribas Open, but the 19-year-old Dane did complain to chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani multiple times about crowd noise–possibly in the direction of Wawrinka’s box, too.

Whatever the case, Wawrinka ended up getting the best of a 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 roller-coasted ride. The 37-year-old had a match point on his own serve for what would have been a straight-set win, but Rune saved it, broke back, and managed to force a decider. The third set was on serve the whole way until 5-5, when Rune cracked, got broken, and then Wawrinka served it out at 6-5.

“I feel good,” the three-time Grand Slam champion assured. “The last 45 minutes were tough. I had the match in control; was playing well. I was putting a lot of pressure (on him). I should have won the match way before, (but) I started feeling nervous and hesitated a little bit. He came back in the match. He is an amazing player; a young player. But it is special to keep winning. It was important to stay there mentally because I am playing well.

“I was trying to stay calm with myself. I lost to him already in Paris. All my career I know only one way: to keep fighting, working, pushing myself and stay positive.”

There was no positivity or words of encouragement at the net between the two players. At first there were no words at all. Rune was seemingly waiting for Wawrinka to say something as they shook hands. After Wawrinka said nothing, Rune offered, “You’ve got nothing to say now?” Wawrinka responded, “What do you want me to say?”

Rune then quickly exited the court.

TennisTV posted the exchange on Twitter, to which Wawrinka replied with a zipper-mouth face, a hand over mouth face, and a rolling on the floor laughing face.

It didn’t stop there, either. Rune then went on Instagram in response to hate messages he allegedly received following the match. He said that anyone who makes “harsh judgements” via social media are “unintelligent” and “are hurting and have been brought down by something that has them feeling defensive (jealousy) – so they become critical of others to restore their self esteem.”

The world No. 8 at least got some support, and it came from an expected source: Nick Kyrgios. Also a chief enemy of Wawrinka on tour, Kyrgios wrote “with you my brother” to Rune on his Instagram story.

Wawrinka wasn’t about to get sucked into any further drama in the press room, but he did offer one more word of caution for Rune.

“There is not much to say there,” Wawrinka responded when asked about the handshake. “The only thing I can add is that he is a young player–a very great champion with enormous potential. But he is making a reputation in the locker rooms that one day he will regret.”

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