Daniil Medvedev beats Holger Rune to clinch maiden clay court title at Italian Open

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ROME: World No.3 Daniil Medvedev on Sunday captured his first clay-court trophy at the Italian Open as he defeated 20-year-old Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5.

After the start of the championship match was delayed by one hour and 40 minutes due to rain, the 27-year-old came out and produced a clean-hitting, consistent display at Centre Court.

On the red clay in Rome, he sat deep behind the baseline and took the strain, twice coming back from a breakdown in the second set against the seventh seed Rune, who was attempting to capture his second Masters 1000 championship. Medvedev had never won a match in three previous appearances in Rome before this season.

“I always want to believe in myself and I always want to win the biggest tournaments in the world. But at the same time, I didn’t think I could win a Masters 1000 on clay in my career because usually I hated it, I hated playing on it. I didn’t feel good on it and nothing was working,” ATP.com quoted Daniil Medvedev as saying.

“Before this tournament already in Madrid and Monte-Carlo, I wasn’t feeling too bad. I thought, ‘OK, let’s continue’. Then when I came here I felt so good in practice and I told my coach, ‘I don’t know what is happening but I am feeling amazing, so let’s see how it goes’. But then you have to play the toughest opponents in the world to try to make it. I am really happy I managed to do it and to prove to myself and everyone else that I am capable of doing it,” he added.

Medvedev has clinched a Tour-leading five titles this season, including the trophy in Miami last month.

“It was a tough match. 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,” Medvedev said.

In an entertaining final, Medvedev demonstrated nerve of steel to hang in rallies and frustrate Rune. The 27-year-old won 83 per cent (20/24) of his first-serve points in the first set and earned the decisive break of the set in the 12th game. (ANI)

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