Zverev Wins Late-Night Roland-Garros Duel Over Rune

Alexander Zverev (photo: Jürgen Hasenkopf)

PARIS/WASHINGTON, June 4, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

The all-court quality that Alexander Zverev and Holger Rune showed during their late-night fourth-round tussle at Roland-Garros, which started as the featured Monday night-session match but didn’t end until early Tuesday morning, was phenomenal at times.

There was plenty of huge hitting and lots of controlled risk, which kept everyone — the players, the coaches and, especially, the fans — engaged well after midnight. There was also great touch on the stretch as every ball and every point became crucial.

The later the match got, the more physical it became. The rallies became longer and the grunting by both players was more noticeable.

By the end, the fourth seed Zverev emerged as the winner of the four-hour, 11-minute fourth-round thriller over No. 13 seed Rune, 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-2. It was Zverev’s second straight five-set win of the tournament, and it earned him a fourth straight quarterfinal berth at Roland-Garros.

The two combatants — Zverev, 27, of Germany and 21-year-old Rune from Denmark — combined to play a total of 304 points. Zverev scored 22 more, 163-141. The 6-foot-6 German finished with 16 aces, won 76 percent of his first-serve points, hit 61 winners to 39 unforced errors and converted eight of 23 break points. Rune countered with 60 winners, including 10 aces, converted six of 10 break points but committed 60 unforced errors.

It was organized chaos at the French Open and everyone present was invested. By 12:57 a.m., with the Paris Metro already closed for the night — and after three hours and 28 minutes of play stretched across four sets — it was on to a fifth set after Zverev shut down Rune 7-2 in a fourth-set tie-break.

By 1:29 a.m. in Paris, Zverev and Rune had been at it for four hours. With Zverev ahead 4-1 in the decisive fifth set, the end started to come into focus. Ten minutes later, it was over. Game, set, match to Zverev.

Zverev won on his second match point opportunity. With Rune serving at 2-5 (30-40), Zverev put away the hard-fought victory with an authoritative overhead smash that ended one last memorable 14-shot rally.

Once victory was secured, Zverev glanced over at his family, smiled, and raised his arms in celebration. The grinding battle with Rune was finally over. The two shared a spirited hug at the net, exchanged a few pleasantries and patted each other on the back. All was good between them as Rune walked off court just ahead of Zverev.

Then, Zverev returned to the court and acknowledged the crowd that stayed and waved his racquet like he always does after a victory.

While Monday was the opening day of Zverev’s domestic abuse trial in Berlin, in which he is alleged to have attacked a former girlfriend, he and Rune rewarded tennis fans with a second late-night Roland-Garros finish in three days. For four hours and 11 minutes, Zverev was able to find solace in his tennis.

Next, Zverev will face 11th seed Alex de Minaur of Australia, who upset fifth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, Monday afternoon.