Rune shocks Shapovalov on RG debut

Danish teen comes through in straight sets against the No.14 seed

Holger Rune, Denis Shapovalov, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Simon Cambers

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov suffered a shock defeat in the first round at Roland-Garros on Tuesday as he was beaten 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(4) by Danish teenager Holger Rune.

The 14th seed made 53 unforced errors, struggled throughout in cool, windy conditions and was eventually well beaten by world No.40 Rune, who is making his debut in the main draw this year.

It’s the first time Shapovalov has lost in round one of a Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open.

The 19-year-old Rune, who won the junior title in Paris in 2019, will play either Pedro Martinez of Spain or Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen in the second round.

Story of the match

In a match played on Court 12, Shapovalov looked out of sorts right from the start but Rune, who won his first title in Munich last month, began in confident fashion. An early break put the Dane ahead and his first serve was proving mightily effective, dropping just two points on it in the opening set. A second break sealed the set.

With a strong breeze making life difficult for pure ball-striking, Shapovalov’s high-risk game was falling short against Rune, whose retrieved everything and whenever he had the chance, taking the opportunity to attack.

An early break put him ahead again in the second set and Rune raced to a 3-0 lead, an advantage he never looked like yielding. The second set was done and dusted in no time and the Dane doubled his lead.

With new coach Peter Polansky looking understandably concerned, Shapovalov regrouped at the start of the third set and began to ask questions of Rune. The Dane was equal to the task, though, and at 4-4, he broke to love when Shapovalov dumped an easy smash into the bottom of the net.

Serving for the match, Rune got himself to match point but couldn’t take it and out of nowhere, Shapovalov broke back, before holding to love to go up 6-5.

With Rune now serving to stay in the set, Shapovalov forced a set point but a good drop shot saved it and he took the set to a tiebreak. The Canadian won the opening point of the tiebreak but that was about as good as it got as Rune held his nerve, clinching victory on the two-hour mark when Shapovalov sent a forehand wide for his first Roland-Garros victory, and 11th on clay this season.

Denis Shapovalov, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Key stats

Shapovalov hit 53 unforced errors to the 19 of Rune, and his six aces were cancelled out by six double faults.

Rune was very effective at the net, winning 9/13 points when he ventured forward and perhaps most importantly, he took his chances, clinching five of his nine break points.

Holger Rune, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

What the players said

Shapovalov: "It was difficult. For sure I wasn't able to bring out my best performance. It's definitely frustrating. But yeah, it just shows I have a lot to work on. And just excited to get back to work. Never think I'm done learning and improving. So, yeah, it's difficult moment, but I just keep working."

Rune: "I think it's nice. This is what you work for every day to be able to play the biggest tournaments. And to play these kind of players like Denis also is great for me. It's amazing level. I'm super happy and pleased to be in this position right now. To be able to have chances against these guys, to be able to, you know, win my first title in Munich was a huge step forward in my career. I'm really positive and working hard every day to get better."