ROME — Daniil Medvedev claimed the first claycourt title of his career ahead of the French Open as the Russian world number three beat Denmark’s Holger Rune 7-5 7-5 in a gripping Italian Open final that began after a rain delay on Sunday.
Medvedev drew first blood in the first Rome final since 2004 not to feature 22-times Grand Slam champions Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic, breaking in the 12th game where he met a feeble drop shot from Rune with a powerful drive to wrap up the first set.
Rune, at 20 the youngest finalist at the Foro Italico since Spaniard Nadal 17 years ago, broke to love in the first game of the second set and pounced again for a 4-3 lead after Medvedev hit back to level the scores.
But the aggressive world number seven appeared to run out of steam late in a physically demanding spell to hand the advantage back to Medvedev, who produced a tight hold thanks to two huge serves before closing out the victory in style.
Medvedev’s fifth title of the season leaves him as one of the top contenders for Roland Garros which begins on May 28. — Reuters