The men’s semi-finals at the Rome Masters’ produced some excellent tennis and a lot of headaches for the organisers as rain again interfered with their schedule for, whilst players were able to play through light drizzle, it forced the second semi off court for some ffive hours resulting in the Medvedev Tsitsipas, encounter lasting six hours in real time!
I’ve played some of my best tennis in the last two matches. It’s so difficult to play the top guys, I had to find my best tennis. I only found it at the end, that’s how I was able to turn it around. Holger Rune
Earlier Holger Rune had come back from a set and a break down, to dismiss Casper Ruud 6-7(2) 6-4 6-2 in the first semi which lasted two-hours and 45-minutes and was then settled comfortably in dry quarters as Medvedev battled Tsitsipas over 107-minutes of actual play for his 7-5 7-5 victory in what proved to be an unsettling confrontation.
Ruud looked to have booked his place in the final as he squeezed past Rune in a close and tense 69-miute opening set and then opened up a lead in the second by securing the first break of the match in the fifth game.
At that moment, Rune called for the trainer who treated his right shoulder thereby breaking Ruud’s concentration for, on the return of play, the 20-year-old Dane broke back to level and basically run away with the rest of the match.
“When I was down, I told myself I had nothing to lose, he would probably win,” the world number seven, who had ousted Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals, said.
“I told myself to play freely, play aggressive as it would likely be my last set. That was the key to the comeback – I’m super-happy.”
Rune admitted that, to reach his third final of the season and eighth of his career, his game had peaked in the last few days.
“I’ve played some of my best tennis in the last two matches. It’s so difficult to play the top guys, I had to find my best tennis.
“I only found it at the end, that’s how I was able to turn it around.”
Meanwhile Medvedev moved into only the second clay court final of his career with his victory over his Greek rival in what will be his third Masters’ final of the season after Indian Wells and Miami.
The Russian was irritated by the continual drizzle and when the rain started to get heavier, he pleaded with umpire Mohammed Lahyani to suspend the match which he finally did with the score level at 4-all for a 4-hour and 47-minute break only to be able to play one game on their return, before scurrying back for cover.
They finally resumed play at 9-30pm with Medvedev leading 5-4 and eventually claimed the first set having won nine of the last 10 games and then quickly went up a break in the second before Tsitsipas levelled in the sixth game.
Medvedev finally made his breakthrough to go 6-5 up and claimed his place in the final by holding serve in the next game, and then celebrating with a jig!
“I’m happy to be in my first clay Masters’ final and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” the third seed said.
“I enjoyed playing very much. It would have been easy to get angry about the conditions and the delays, but we (his team) just laughed about it.”
“I must have warmed up six or seven times, I knew we would play when we could.”
Medvedev had never won a match in Rome prior to this year but will find himself competing for a fifth trophy of 2023 when he takes on Rune for the second time in as many months after losing to the Dane in Monte Carlo where he ended being second best in the final to Andrey Rublev.