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Shock for Rune as Shevchenko claims ‘biggest win’ in Rotterdam

Holger Rune suffered a shock exit at the Rotterdam Open. Photo: AFP

Rising star Holger Rune suffered a shock defeat Thursday to Alexander Shevchenko in the Rotterdam Open second round, with the Kazakh hailing the “biggest win” of his career to date.

The 23-year-old world number 57 claimed only his second victory against a top-10 player to set up a quarter-final clash against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

In a topsy-turvy match, Shevchenko won a tight first set 6-4 before capitulating 6-1 in the second. The deciding set went on serve until 4-3 before the Kazakh broke the Rune serve.

Shevchenko let out a triumphant scream as he held serve to win the match and afterwards told reporters that he considered this a breakthrough win against the world number seven and third seed.

“It’s the biggest win of my career. I’m really proud of myself,” he said.

“Already last year, I played some good tennis but I needed the experience of playing top guys like (Hubert) Hurkacz, Rune, (Daniil) Medvedev, (Jannik) Sinner. Now I got it and I’m trying to find a way day by day to play them.”

He predicted a very different challenge against Dimitrov, who tends to employ more slice than Denmark’s Rune, who relies on a hard serve and powerful forehand.

“I don’t really know how you can prepare for Grigor. He’s playing some insane tennis at the moment,” he said.

Shevchenko is now setting his sights on regularly getting to the business end of top tournaments and believes he has made changes in his game and his preparation to allow him to do that.

“Something clicked. I started to become more mature, more professional,” he said.

Elsewhere in the draw, reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner plays Frenchman Gael Monfils later Thursday, seeking to extend an 11-match winning run.

The Italian breezed through his first match, beating local player Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-3.

Sixth seed Dimitrov beat Marton Fucsovics from Hungary 6-3, 7-5 to book his encounter with Shevchenko.

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