Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (7) Holger Rune.
Date: May 17, 2023.
Tournament: Italian Open 2023.
Venue: Foro Italico, Rome, Italy.
Category: Masters 1000.
Surface: Outdoor clay.
Prize money: €7,705,780.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Sony Liv.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune preview
Defending champion Novak Djokovic will take on World No. 7 Holger Rune in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Italian Open on Wednesday.
Djokovic knocked out Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Grigor Dimitrov to reach the fourth round, where he was up against Cameron Norrie. The Serb secured an early break of serve to go 3-0 up and was able to hold on to the lead with ease.
Djokovic held a couple of set points on Norrie's serve at 5-2, but the latter managed to eke out a service hold. The 35-year-old then served out the opener in the following game.
Djokovic drew first blood in the second set as well as he broke Norrie's serve in the third game to go 2-1 up. The Brit broke back immediately to level the score. The two remained quite steady on serve over the next few games.
Djokovic raised his level towards the end as he swept the last three games to win the match 6-3, 6-4. He has now reached the quarterfinals in Rome for a record 17th consecutive time.
Rune defeated Arthur Fils and Fabio Fognini to set up a fourth round encounter against qualifier Alexei Popyrin. The 20-year-old broke his opponent's serve early on the first set. The advantage proved to be more than enough for him to nab the opener.
The two were evenly matched for most of the second set. Popyrin held a set point on Rune's serve at 5-4, but was unable to close it out. He didn't commit the same mistake twice, breaking the Dane's serve at 6-5 to clinch the set.
Rune struck first in the final set as he jumped to a 4-2 lead. Popyrin put up a fight by saving four match points to make it 5-4 later on, but the Danish youngster closed the proceedings in the next game to win 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune head-to-head
The two have split their previous couple of meetings evenly to tie the head-to-head at 1-1. Rune won their recent encounter at the 2022 Paris Masters in three sets.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune odds
(Odds are sourced from BetMGM)
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune prediction
After a slow start to his clay season, Djokovic appears to be getting better with every match in Rome. He blasted 21 winners while committing a measly four unforced errors in the previous round. The Serb's serving stats were solid as well, coupled with some stellar returning.
Rune needed three hours to get past Popyrin, but he dug deep to get himself out of trouble. The 20-year-old managed to get the better of Djokovic the last time they met, scoring an upset win over him in the final of the Paris Masters.
Against a well-rounded player like Djokovic, Rune will once again need to put his best foot forward. However, with the defending champion rediscovering his form here, it's unlikely the Danish youngster will be able to one-up him yet again.
Pick: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.