Holger Rune made a mid-match recovery to earn his first victory over Scandinavian rival Casper Ruud, reaching the Rome Masters final with a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2 fightback on Saturday.

The Danish youngster will play his third title match on Sunday at the elite Masters level after winning Paris Bercy over Novak Djokovic last November and contesting April’s Monte Carlo final against Andrey Rublev.

The 20-year-old who has knocked off two Top 5 players this week – Djokovic in the quarters and now Ruud – needed two and three quarter hours to go through.

Rune trailed a set and 4-2 but may have benefitted mentally from what might be considered a strategic medical timeout, with a trainer massaging his shoulder as he trailed a set and 3-2.

Ruud won one more game before his opponent’s turnaround kicked in.

“When I was down, I told myself I had nothing to lose, he would probably win,” Rune said.

“I told myself to play freely, play aggressive as it would likely be my last set.  That was the key to the comeback – I’m super-happy.”

Ruud was disappointed that he let the match slip away.

” I had the lead and felt like the finish line was close – but it wasn’t in the end. 

“Holger broke back, I played some poor shots, did a couple of bad mistakes. That’s how it goes.

“Things weren’t going too much in my favor towards the end. Nothing more to say on this. 

“I can blame myself that I didn’t serve good enough when I had to there. I played not good enough in the third set.”

Ruud came to the court with four wins over Rune, with all the meetings held on clay.

Main photo:- Holger Rune winning in Rome today – by ATPTour.com