Holger While playing Ugo Humbert in the third round on Saturday, Rune took what appeared to be a severe fall in the middle of the match, but the ninth seed proved that nothing could stop him.
The 19-year-old, who beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters in November, is considered a dark horse at the year’s first Grand Slam and advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(5) triumph.
Organizers were probably holding their breath when another seed fell, what with home favourite Nick Kyrgios missing due to a knee injury, holder Rafael Nadal and second seed Casper Ruud limping out in the second round, and nine-time champion Novak Djokovic hobbled by a hamstring trouble.
After twisting his ankle and landing awkwardly, Rune needed extensive treatment on the court and seemed bewildered, but the Dane is made of sterner stuff.
Not too bad, he assured the press. I had plenty of time to play my best. I was anxious about what happened in the third set, but when I saw the match in slow motion, it all seemed fine. There’s no cause for alarm. In spite of my initial nervousness, my performance improved greatly after that incident. Therefore, I am optimistic.
Rune had beaten Filip Krajinovic and Maxime Cressy to reach the third round without dropping a set, but the Russian fifth seed Rublev is a formidable opponent.
After a breakout year in which he defeated several top-10 players, most notably during his drive for the Paris title, Rublev stated the Dane would not enter the match as an underdog.
When I said that, Rune agreed.