By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, March 13, 2023
A focused Stan Wawrinka seized the last point.
A fierce Holger Rune fired the last word.
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In a crackling showdown dripping drama, animosity and head games, the 37-year-old Wawrinka showed major appetite for the fight stopping the seventh-seeded Rune 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in a wild Indian Wells third-round upset.
The 100th-ranked Wawrinka has scored three straight wins in a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time since the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters, but the end of the match was not the end of this battle.
The 19-year-old Rune, incensed Wawrinka blasted him as “a baby” in their last clash four months ago in Paris, called the sturdy Swiss out as they met at net today.
STAN SURVIVES!@stanwawrinka outlasts Rune in a ROLLERCOASTER to pound his way into R4 in #TennisParadise! pic.twitter.com/wHcPLN286L
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 13, 2023
“You got nothing to say now? You got nothing to say now?” Rune boldly challenged the former US Open champion while looking him in the eyes.
Wawrinka, who had his hand on the teenager’s shoulder as they met at net, looked surprised by the remark and replied: “What do you want me to say?”
As Wawrinka turned to shake chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani’s hand, Rune broke out to pack up his Babolat bag making a quick exit.
Though these two have only met twice, their fierce feud is already bubbling with more bad blood than Cocaine Bear.
This raw rivalry is rooted in words exchanged last November when Rune repelled three match points stunning Wawrinka 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) at the Rolex Paris Masters.
In the handshake after that match, an annoyed Wawrinka gave Rune a piece of his mind over what he perceived as bad behavior during the match.
Stan Wawrinka had a 𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒚 message for Holger Rune after their Paris Masters clash 💬😳 pic.twitter.com/y3gfoPVx8m
— Eurosport (@eurosport) November 2, 2022
“My advice to you is that you stop acting like a baby on court,” a bitter Wawrinka told the Danish teenager as they shook hands.
That admonishment left Holger’s mom and manager, Aneke Rune, calling Wawrinka a sore loser afterward.
“It is hard to imagine that a sportsman like Stan would have said that,” she said. “Then he would come across as an uncommonly bad loser. Holger has only mentioned that he wished him well with the results of the past weeks.”
Though he’s one of the youngest men in the Top 100, Rune has showed substantial cojones…
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