Novak Djokovic played for his seventh Paris Masters title against youngster Holger Rune. The Serb gave it his all as he chased his 39th Masters 1000 crown, creating plenty of break chances and leading 3-1, 40-30 in the decider.
Still, a teenager bounced back and earned a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory in two hours and 33 minutes for his first Masters 1000 crown and a top-10 spot. Djokovic and Rune trained together in Monaco for a couple of years, became friends and built a great relationship on and off the court.
Despite a tough loss, his first in the Masters 1000 final after winning the first set, Djokovic congratulated Rune and his team for a great effort and a dream week. Holger has won 19 of the previous 21 matches, reaching four consecutive ATP indoor finals and lifting trophies in Stockholm and Paris.
With these points, the young Dane will be placed in the top 10 on Monday and will join Carlos Alcaraz as the second elite teenager.
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune met in the final of the Paris Masters.
Holger is the fourth-youngest Masters 1000 champion and the first player with five top-10 wins in a single event outside of the ATP Finals!
Instead of being the top seed at the NextGen ATP Finals in Milan next week, Rune will travel to Turin as the first alternate for the ATP Finals, hoping for a chance to perform at the elite ATP event. Djokovic won five points more than Rune and created 12 break chances, six in the final game of the encounter alone.
Holger denied ten of those and took three breaks from as many opportunities to emerge on top and write history books. The Dane played aggressive tennis and finished with 43 game winners and 33 unforced errors. Novak dominated on his first serve and hit more winners than Holger.
However, the youngster climbed back into the longer baseline exchanges, taming his strikes well and prevailing after an epic battle. Novak settled into a good rhythm early on, dropping five points in five service games in the first set and hoping for a chance on the return.
He broke Holger in game four after double faults from the opponent to build a 3-1 lead and serve well in the rest of the set for 6-3. Rune fended off all three break chances in the second set and seized his only chance on the return to stay competitive and enter a decider.
Rune broke in game two and served well in the remaining games for 6-3 and a decider after one hour and 20 minutes. Novak broke in the fourth game of the final set and had a chance to go up 4-1 in the next one on serve from him. Holger extended that game with a backhand down the line winner and broke for more drama.
Djokovic made a forehand error in the 11th game to fall behind 6-5 and allow the opponent to serve for the title. Game 12 was a real roller coaster ride after Novak created six break points that could have prolonged the battle.
After 17 minutes, Rune saved them all and used the second match point to start an emotional celebration and become the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986.