They grow up so fast!

Holger Rune held onto 18 just long enough to score the biggest win of his young career, posting a 6-3, 6-2 demolition of self-appointed “New” Big 3 star Alexander Zverev to guarantee he’ll spend his 19th birthday at the BMW Open in Munich.

So overwhelmed was the young Dane that he nearly forgot the day itself.

“My birthday’s on Friday? Saturday? I don’t know! It’s the 29th,” he said during his on-court interview, inviting the German crowd to a birthday party that will double as his third ATP quarterfinal. “I love this tournament. It’s a bit at altitude, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a bit similar conditions to Denmark, so I’m happy to be here.”

Two of those three last-eight appearances have now come on clay for the former French Open junior champion—including his first in Santiago last March—but this week marks the teenager’s most impressive effort yet, stunning the top seed in an hour and 40 minutes.

“It was a difficult match from the beginning,” said the world No. 70, who will likely earn a new career-high ranking next week. “He’s Top 3 in the world and has been playing some unbelievable tennis, especially in the last year winning so many big titles. I had a lot of respect for him and I obviously didn’t expect to win in two sets and with the score like this. It was a really hard match and we played a lot of rallies, so I’m really happy with the match today.”


Rune first stole the spotlight last summer when he pushed world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to four sets at the US Open, and though he had lost all six of his matches against Top 20 opposition, a three-set defeat to Matteo Berrettini at the BNP Paribas Open and a tight two-setter against Casper Ruud in Monte Carlo illustrated just how close he was to a signature result.

And what a result: the wild card broke Zverev’s serve four times and raced ahead 5-1 after a hard-fought opening set—ultimately sealing the win with a triumphant overhead smash.

Meanwhile, Zverev had hoped to contend for the No. 1 ranking with Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev’s absences from the Sunshine and clay-court swings, respectively, but has now lost his last four sets since narrowly defeating Jannik Sinner in Monte Carlo. The coronation that never quite started appears definitively postponed for the time being.

It instead remains Rune's party—and you'll cry if he wants you to. He will next face Emil Ruusuvuori for the chance at what is sure to be his birthday wish: a first ATP semifinal.