If Holger Rune is feeling any extra pressure as the top seed in this year’s Brisbane International men’s singles draw, it isn’t showing.
The 20-year-old from Denmark is now only one win away from taking out the ATP 250 title, after scoring a 6-4 7-6(0) victory against Roman Safiullin in semifinal action today at Pat Rafter Arena.
Rune becomes only the fourth top-seeded man to reach the singles final in tournament history, joining the exclusive company of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.
World No.39 Safiullin had been on a giant-killing run this week, eliminating third seed Ben Shelton and Australian Alexei Popyrin on his march into the final four. However, he proved no match for world No.8 Rune.
After taking a 6-4 2-0 lead, Rune held his nerve when Safiullin gained a service break back to level the second set. When it progressed to a tiebreak, however, the higher-ranked Rune dominated to secure victory.
The straight-sets victory follows wins this week over Max Purcell, Alexander Shevchenko and James Duckworth, providing a welcome confidence boost in Rune’s opening tournament of 2024.
“It’s exactly how I wanted it to be, to get the most amount of matches as possible. One to go tomorrow. I’m going to try to make it in my favour again,” he said.
“It’s been a great week so far. Playing some good matches against some great players. Yeah, I’m excited for tomorrow and then Melbourne.”
Rune’s final opponent will be decided later tonight, when second seed Grigor Dimitrov and Australian Jordan Thompson clash in the other semifinal.