Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final when he defeated Danish teenager Holger Rune in four sets at the French Open.
World number eight Ruud triumphed 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 and will meet 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the final.
Ruud fired 13 aces in the win but seemed less than impressed post-match after a cold handshake from his rival.
It was in stark contrast to an incredile display of sportmanship earlier in the day, after Marin Cilic took down Andrey Rublev.
“Rune needs to grow up! And when he does, wooow, look out, ”Rennae Stubbs tweeted post-match.
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According to ESPNthe two clashed when Ruud told Rune he did not appreciate him questioning what he deemed to be an obvious call from the umpire chair.
‘I told him,’ What, do you need to check every mark? ‘ and he told me to be quiet. I asked him, ‘Maybe that’s not the greatest thing to tell your opponent to be quiet when I’m talking to you?’ And he said it once more. So that was all that happened. And I didn’t exchange any more words with him after this, ”Ruud said.
“So that’s what he wants to say and behave? That’s up to him. “
Rune, ranked 40, had knocked out fourth seed and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round.
The 19-year-old was bidding to become the first Danish man to reach the last-four in Paris and first at any Slam since Jan Leschly at the 1967 US Championships.
However, Ruud overpowered the youngster, firing 13 aces and 55 winners while Rune had to fight off 12 of 17 break points carved out by the Norwegian.
There are only better things ahead for Rune though, with Ruud paying tribute to the teenager’s immense potential post-match.
“He has improved a lot,” Ruud said.
“I’ve played him four times already in my career. I’ve probably the player who has played him most on tour so I know a little bit how he plays but he has become much more dangerous, more unpredictable.
“He plays fearless, plays a lot of big shots and makes a lot of them so he makes it challenging for you and he’s going to be a dangerous player for many years.”
‘INCREDIBLE’ ACT OF SPORTSMANSHIP LAUDED AS CILIC WINS
Cilic fired 33 aces past seventh-seeded Rublev to reach his first French Open semi-final with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10/2) win.
Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, also crashed 88 winners in the four-hour 10-minute tie.
The 33-year-old Cilic becomes only the fifth active men’s player after Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to make the semi-finals at all four Slams.
“The fifth set was an incredible battle,” said Cilic who is in his first Slam semi-final in four years.
“Andrey played so well. Today was my day. He just didn’t have the luck. ”
Cilic – and the tennis world in general – also paid tribute to Rublev for an incredible act of sportsmanship that ended up helping his rival.
With the match on the line in the fifth-set decider, Cilic had a shot called out by the umpire, immediately expressing his frustration at the call.
“No! No! No! No! Please! ” Cilic said.
“Please! No! No! No! The ball is touching the line. The ball is touching the line! Please! ”
In a stunning twist, Rublev then held up his racquet to concede the point, despite replays showing the ball was out and that the call was indeed correct.
The crowd showed its appreciation, giving Rublev an ovation while Cilic was full of post-match praise.
“Andrey played incredibly well and it was an incredible fair play performance on the court,” he said.
“A lot of heart.”
‘DISAPPOINTING’: Swiatek speaks after French Open boss’ stunning admission
Rublev, playing and eventually losing his fifth quarter-final at the majors, grabbed the first set but wilted under a Cilic barrage over the next two.
The Croatian had stunned world number two Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round and he rediscovered that free-swinging assault to level the contest with a 17th ace on a fifth set point.
He pocketed the third with a lone break in the seventh game. Rublev, who had knocked Cilic out of the Australian Open in January, battled back with a crucial break in the eighth game of the fourth set.
Cilic, the 2017 Wimbledon and 2018 Australian Open runner-up to Federer, had a match point saved in the ninth game of the decider but swept through the super tiebreaker.
In the night match, 19-year-old Holger Rune of Denmark takes on Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud as both men eye landmark runs to the semi-finals.
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“He was serving very well,” Rublev said.
“I relaxed after the first set but then I wasn’t thinking.
“I couldn’t manage the emotions in the previous quarter-finals. Today I was close. ”
World number 40 Rune stunned fourth seed and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the first ever Danish man to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Victory would make him the youngest semi-finalist at a major since Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer on his 19th birthday to make the last-four in Paris in 2005.
Jan Leschly was the last Dane to book a semi-final spot in a Slam at the 1967 US Championships.
Ruud is also seeking a maiden semi-final place in the majors and goes into the tie having defeated Rune in straight sets in all three meetings.
The most recent came on clay in Monte Carlo in April.
The other semi-final will see 13-time champion Rafael Nadal take on Alexander Zverev after his epic quarter-final win over Novak Djokovic.
‘SKY THE LIMIT’ FOR SWIATEK AS AMERICAN TEEN EYES FINAL
World number one Iga Swiatek said “the sky is the limit” as she looks to extend her 33-match winning streak and reach the French Open final.
The 2020 Roland Garros champion faces Russian Daria Kasatkina in the last four on Thursday, with the winner to face either Coco Gauff or Martina Trevisan – who meet in the second semi-final – the showpiece match.
Polish star Swiatek has climbed from world number seven to the top of the rankings on the back of a remarkable unbeaten run which has seen her win five successful tournaments, including four WTA 1,000 titles.
“I kind of felt like the sky’s the limit for me, so I feel more free right now, I feel like I’ve proven myself,” Swiatek said.
“A lot has changed in my mind and for sure I also realize that I can actually be number one and really cope with it properly. So that’s pretty cool. ”
Swiatek will be playing in her third Grand Slam semi-final, after also making that stage at this year’s Australian Open.
Kasatkina won her first clash with Swiatek on the Eastbourne grass last year, but has lost all three of their meetings in 2022 in straight sets, without winning more than five games in a match.
But those defeats all came on hard courts at the Australian Open and in Dubai and Doha.
“We played a few times this year, but, okay, I lost those matches, but it was a different story,” Kasatkina said.
“It was a hard court, the beginning of the year, I was not in the same shape as I am now.
“I can’t compare what we were going to have tomorrow and what we had in February, March when we were playing. It’s going to be completely different match …
“She’s good on hard court, she’s good on clay, so it doesn’t matter. But I think for me it’s better to face her on clay. ”
Gauff has threatened to break into the highest echelons of the sport since her fairytale run to the Wimbledon last 16 as a 15-year-old three years ago.
Her victory over Sloane Stephens in the previous round was only her second Grand Slam quarter-final, but now a maiden final is just one win away.
“You don’t want to let other people limit your dreams,” said the 18th seed. “It’s important that you don’t put yourself into a box. So I always try to tell young kids that, to dream big, and you never know when your moment is going to happen. ”
Gauff lost her only previous match against Italian Trevisan in the second round at Roland Garros in 2020.
But the American has made a habit of beating players at the second time of asking in her young career, including earlier this week against Stephens and when she beat Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Australian Open.
“I think it gives me confidence,” Gauff said.
“Losing to Sloane at the (2021) US Open and (winning) here, and then losing to Naomi and I lost to Trevisan, so I’m hoping the trend keeps going.”
World number 59 Trevisan enjoyed a dream run to the quarter-finals as a qualifier two years ago and is on a 10-match winning streak after winning her maiden WTA title in Rabat last month.
NADAL UNSURE OF FUTURE AHEAD OF SEMI-FINAL RUN
Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal insisted he still has work to do to win a 14th French Open despite knocking out Novak Djokovic and said it was “too late” to be playing after their quarter-final ended in the early hours of Thursday morning [AEST].
The Spaniard is still on track for a record-extending 22nd men’s Grand Slam title and will face third seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on his 36th birthday.
Nadal took his head-to-head against defending champion Djokovic at Roland Garros to 8-2 with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) win which finished after 1:00 am local time.
“In the end it has been a very emotional night for me,” Nadal said. “I’m still playing for nights like today.
“But it’s just a quarter-finals match? So I didn’t win anything. I just give myself a chance to be back on court in two days. Playing another semi-finals here in Roland Garros means a lot to me. ”
The match ended in cool conditions under the Philippe Chatrier lights, with many fans covering themselves in blankets as the match stretched from May to June.
“It’s too late, no doubt,” said Nadal who had asked not to play in the night session.
“I can’t complain because we have two days off now, but if you only have one day off, or like Zverev had in Madrid, when he had to play the final the next day, then it’s a big issue.
“I understand the other part of the business, without a doubt, that television pays a lot of money …
“We need to find a balance.”
Nadal, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, has struggled in recent weeks with a chronic foot injury.
He said before his match with Djokovic that it could potentially be his last on the Paris clay.
“I don’t know what can happen,” he admitted.
“As I said before, I’m gonna be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen after here.
“I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution for that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me.
“So that’s it. I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future. ”
Nadal will move two clear of Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time list of most men’s major titles if he lifts the trophy again on Sunday.
But he played down the importance of the battle between the ‘big three’. “From my perspective it doesn’t matter that much. We achieved our dreams. We make history in this sport because we did things that didn’t happen before. ”