Daniil Medvedev picked a good time to claim his first career clay title rallying late to upended Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5 to win the Rome Masters title.
Medvedev hadn’t made a clay final since Barcelona in 2019, but this week showcased his improved movement on the slippery surface to collect his 6th career Masters title and 20th overall, all in 20 different cities. He’s also now won titles on all three surfaces.
“I would 2%,” Medvedev said on court when asked of his chances to have won the title going in. “Normally it would be zero, but I was feeling so well before the week that I would give myself 2%.
“I am happy because I never thought I would be able to do it. To win some matches, yes. To maybe be in a good draw, yes. But I never thought I would win a Masters 1000 on clay. I am just super happy and proud.”
Rune came into the final as the favorite having just handily defeating Medvedev in Monte Carlo last month. The 20-year-old also was on a flying 7-match win streak against Top 5 foes.
The final was delayed 90 minutes for more rain. Medvedev staved off break points and pushed for 5-all when he made his move, breaking Rune for the set.
Rune came right back breaking Medvedev to start the second. Medvedev would eventually get it back but at 3-all, a 38-shot rally went Rune’s way and gave him the momentum and fuel. The youngster would break and hold and we looked headed for a third.
But Medvedev would turn the tables and Rune last his way dropping the last four games of the match.
“It was a tough match,” Medvedev said. “I think we were both a bit nervous at the start and I think we were both missing our basics. We were missing some easy shots, so I am happy I managed to step it up at the end of the first set. But then at the start of the second set he stepped it up straight away and I was like ‘OK, this is the moment I have to start playing better and go to his level’. Then it was a top match from this stage.”
Rune still goes in Paris off three clay finals, winning in Munich.
“My feeling right now is obviously not the best. But also I have to look at has been a good clay season so far for me,” Rune said to the ATP. “I made three finals out of four tournaments. In that way I can’t complain. As many of you guys know me now, I’m a very eager person to win titles. I’ve been close. Hopefully I will learn from it.
“I think I was very nervous stepping into the match. Obviously came through from a great match yesterday. Maybe I put too many expectations on myself, even though I told myself not to,” he adde. “He played great. He played really solid from the back of the court… I’m happy for him. It’s his first title on clay. I think he has a good future also in clay. He’s a great player on all courts.”
Medvedev, who had been ranked No. 12 after Australia, moves up to No. 2 in the live rankings which means Novak Djokovic could face No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. Medvedev also extends his 2023 ATP Race lead.
“I am feeling great. It’s the best week on clay in my life. It’s always great to come into a Grand Slam with a lot of confidence.”
The French Open main draw singles begins a week from today.
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So hilarious that Daniil came through to win this. I like him more than ever now. After my fave Sinner went out, I figured it was Holger’s for the taking but somehow Daniil channeled that raw-boned, rock steady game that took Rafa to 5 sets at the 2019 US Open…nicely done.
May 22nd, 2023 at 11:32 am