It was both players’ first appearance in a Roland Garros quarter-final, and 19-year-old Rune became the first Dane to reach that stage in the French Open.
Rune enjoyed a fabulous run through the quarter-finals, knocking out Denis Shapovalov in the first round to take first place. Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round before ultimately losing to Ruud.
“This is a big day for Norwegian tennis because we also have tennis player Ulrikke Eikeri who reached the mixed doubles final today. She’s even one step ahead of me!” Ruud said in his post-match on-court interview.
“These are the matches you dream of playing. And hopefully, of course, even the final, if possible,” he continued. “I have to be really focused and take my game to the semi-finals.”
The Norwegian started the match impressively, breaking Rune twice to open 5-0 in the first set, which he eventually won 6-1.
“I started great, but then Holger fought back well, raised his level and at the end I had a really tough match,” Ruud said afterwards.
The second set was more balanced as the two players exchanged breaks early before Roon broke Ruud in the last game to equalize.
But by the third set, Ruud seemed to have the answer to everything the Dane tried; An inch-perfect approach was met with an outstretched arm strike by Ruud, while the dropshot only dragged Ruud towards the net.
Throughout the match, Rune talked to his boxer, and when he lost in the third set, he appeared to be yelling at his mother, who left the court.
“I love my mom and won’t let her go,” Rune later explained to Eurosport. “When I’m upset, it can help if my mother or coach leaves, so I don’t have two people to refer to. She also went against Stefanos at some point. [Tsitsipas] to give me ease. She controls it, not me.”
The set remained well balanced and a tiebreak was needed to separate the two players. Ruud went ahead with a score of 4:2 and did not lose a single point, taking a tie-break and a 7:2 set.
Encouraged by this, Ruud regained control, hitting 94% on the first serve in the fourth round to win 6–3, winning the match in three hours and 15 minutes.
In the semi-finals on Friday, the Norwegian will take on a resurgent Marin Cilic.