The Rolex Monte-Carlo Open delivered some beautiful tennis under ideal and sunny conditions on Thursday, April 11, with some remarkable matches. Favourites Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev surprisingly fell through, but Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner convincingly reached the quarterfinals. Holger Rune achieved the greatest effort by winning two matches, making him Jannik Sinner’s opponent on Friday.

Rune still had to play the game against Sumit Nagal, which was interrupted on Wednesday, April 10. The game was interrupted due to rain with the scores standing at 6-2, 2-1. Rune had to get rid of break point immediately on the resumption, but failed to do so. The tone was set for a surprising set, in which the qualifier from India even broke through the Dane’s serve once more to take the set. Rune restored the situation in the third set, and eventually won (6-3, 3-6, 6-2).

After that, a match against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov awaited Rune, who also had to finish an interrupted match earlier in the day against Miomir Kecmanovic (6-4, 6-3). Both players went very deep in a head-to-head match that lasted three and a half hours, but in the end Rune came out on top by winning a tie-break twice (7-6, 3-6, 7-6). In the third set, the Dane also survived two match points and saved seven break points out of a total of ten. In the all-deciding tie-break, Rune ran out to 4-0 and broke the resistance of the tough Bulgarian, who had played in the final against Sinner in Miami.

“It was a great match, but it was tough physically because I have played today five sets in the end. I am very happy to beat Grigor, who had played such a good season,” Rune said after the match. He surprisingly eliminated Sinner in the semifinals of the Monte-Carlo Open last year, but after the match on Friday he said “it is going to be great. Jannik is for sure the favourite at the moment, but I have beaten him twice and lost only once by him. We will see what will happen.”

Jannik Sinner played a good match against Jan Lennard Struff, although the German started brutally and even ran out in the first set. The final score was 6-4, 6-2 for the travelling Italian crowd’s favourite. His compatriot Lorenzo Musetti failed to surprise Novak Djokovic on Court Rainier III for the second season in a row. Still, Musetti immediately broke through Djokovic’s serve and seemed to be able to win the first set, but Djokovic hit back mercilessly by breaking the Italian’s serve twice when it mattered. In the second set, the world number 1 finished the match easily (7-5, 6-3). The Serb will face Australian Alex de Minaur in the quarterfinals, who managed to defeat his compatriot Alexej Popyrin in two sets (6-3, 6-4).

Sacha Zverev was surprisingly eliminated by Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thrilling duel. The Greek, who won this tournament twice, won the first set 7-5 and then ran out to 5-0 in the second set. Suddenly, the German got a new lease of life and fought back to 5-5 and then a tie-break, which the Greek won 7-3.

Daniil Medvedev played an uninspiring match against his compatriot Karen Khachanov and was defeated in two sets (6-3, 7-5). In the second set, the former US Open winner seemed to recover but suffered a wound on his finger, which caused too much distraction. After a lost game, he departed the court out of frustration and thus also ran into a points penalty.

Casper Ruud qualified for the quarterfinals by defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (6-4, 6-2). The Norwegian will meet the last Frenchman at the tournament, Ugo Humbert, who had to play under artificial lights for almost three hours on Thursday evening against the surprising lucky loser, Lorenzo Sonego, who replaced Alcaraz. The Italian won the first set, but after that Humbert was much better (5-7, 6-3, 6-1).

Featured image courtesy of Jurriaan van Wessem: Jannik Sinner on the clay courts of the MCCC