Rome, Italy, 16 May 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Holger Rune has halted Alexei Popyrin’s career-best run at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

The 20-year-old Dane scored a hard-fought 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory in their fourth-round showdown today at the Italian Open.

World No.77 Popyrin entered this match with an unbeaten record against top-10 opponents so far this season, having won all three previous encounters. But Rune proved too difficult to handle.

The world No.7 started strongly, conceding only six points on serve in the opening set.

Popyrin gallantly fought back to extend the match to a deciding set, but 11 aces and 45 winners in total were not enough to secure victory.

Rune eventually closed out the match after a gruelling three hours on court.

Popyrin, who saved 13 of the 15 break points he faced throughout the match, had been aiming to become the first Australian to reach a men’s singles quarterfinal in Rome since Lleyton Hewitt in 2000.

Aussie hopes at this year’s Italian Open now rest in doubles.

Storm Hunter and Belgian partner Elise Mertens have progressed to the semifinals in the women’s doubles competition, while Aussie duo Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler are through to the quarterfinals in the men’s doubles draw.

Meanwhile for Popyrin, his attention now turns to preparing for his fifth Roland Garros campaign. The towering talent created history in Paris in 2017, when he became the first Australian in 49 years to win the boys’ singles title.

Aussies in action – Rome

Men’s singles, fourth round
[7] Holger Rune (DEN) d [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 5-7 6-4

Men’s doubles, quarterfinals
Alex de Minaur (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v [1] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Neal Skupski (GBR)

> VIEW: Italian Open men’s doubles draw

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v TBC

> VIEW: Italian Open women’s doubles draw

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