Daniil Medvedev wins Italian Open to hand Novak Djokovic French Open body blow
Daniil Medvedev won his maiden title on clay as he defeated Holger Rune in straight sets in the Italian Open final and the victory also earned him the second seed at the French Open ahead of Novak Djokovic.
Former US Open champion Medvedev has always maintained that he is not a fan of clay yet his form on the surface the past few weeks suggests he is starting to come to grips with the red dirt.
After following up his run to the quarter-final at the Monte Carlo Masters with a fourth-round exit at the Madrid Open, the former world No 1 went all the way in Rome as he defeated rising star Rune 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes at Foro Italico.
He beat fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas by the same scoreline in the semi-final, although he will probably be the first to admit that he got quite lucky on Sunday that it didn’t go to a deciding set as Rune wasted several opportunities in the second set.
Having saved two break points in the fifth game, the Russian broke in game 12 to wrap up the opening set.
However, Rune hit back immediately in the opening game of the second set as he broke to love. Yet Medvedev drew level in game four only for the Dane to break again – this time to love in game seven to lead 4-3.
Rune then came out to serve for the set in game 10 and it didn’t go according to plan as he made four unforced errors as Medvedev broke back.
The third seed then held serve before going all in as he found himself with three match points at 0-40. The first one was saved before the former world No 1 completed the job at the second time of asking.
ATP Rankings and French Open seedings
Medvedev missed last year’s Italian Open as he was out injured and he leaves Rome with 1,000 ranking points, taking his tally to 6,330, which is good enough for second place in the rankings and the second seed at Roland Garros.
Carlos Alcaraz was always assured moving to the top of the ATP Rankings following his second-round win at Foro Italico as he moved to 6,815 points, but Djokovic will now drop to third behind Medvedev following his quarter-final defeat to Rune.
With the French Tennis Federation using the ATP Rankings for the seedings, it means Alcaraz will be seeded top and he is followed by Medvedev, Djokovic, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rune – who is now at a career-high No 6 – Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Of course it means that Alcaraz and Djokovic could end up in the same half of the draw and potentially meet in the semi-final, instead of the final.
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