Daniil Medvedev Wins First Clay Court Masters 1000 Title at Italian Open 2023 Final
Daniil Medvedev is a clay court Masters 1000 champion for the first time after defeating Holger Rune 7-5 7-5 in Sunday’s Italian Open final.
In a week plagued by rain showers, it was only fitting that the final was delayed by over an hour, but when play commenced, it was the Russian who produced the cleaner tennis, breaking decisively at the business end of set one and twice recovering from a break down in the second set to land his first ever clay court title and sixth Masters 1000 crown.
Italian Open 2023 Final Result
Daniil Medvedev (3)
Holger Rune (7)
1st Serve Points Won
2nd Serve Points Won
Break Points Saved
Service Games Played
1st Serve Return Points Won
2nd Serve Return Points Won
Break Points Converted
Return Games Played
Net Points Won
Service Points Won
Return Points Won
Total Points Won
Thoughts on the Match
Medvedev had played some of the best clay court tennis I’ve ever seen from him during the last ten days or so in Rome, and his game seemed to click with better movement and that ability to defend from the corners and steal points he has no business winning.
That continued in the final as Medvedev soaked up Rune’s groundstrokes and outlasted him from the baseline throughout. He refused to miss, especially in the second set, where he twice recovered a break of serve.
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 on his final win over Rune.
Medvedev’s ability to get to the ball when being run from side to side but still put something on it is Djokovic-esque, and even from defensive positions, the Russian can always come up with something to flip the momentum of the point entirely with just one swing of the racket.
Whereas most defensive-type baseliners have to work overtime for ALL of their points, Medvedev also has a highly effective serve, so he can always reel off some points quickly to relieve pressure or save energy for his return games.
Alongside those attributes that serve him well on all surfaces, Medvedev has also clearly put in the hard yards on clay this season.
While he might not like the surface and he could just put his focus elsewhere or skip it entirely like Kyrgios, I’ve seen countless videos of him practising at Mouratogalou’s academy, and he and his coach have dedicated themselves to understanding the nuances of the surface, adjusting his footwork, and fine-tuning his shots to suit the unique demands of clay court tennis.
His ability to adapt tactically and mentally is also worth mentioning. Instead of being discouraged by previous disappointments on clay, he approached each tournament with a fresh perspective, and he is an analytical type of person who thinks about his opponents’ weaknesses and how to neutralise the surface’s challenges rather than just trying to blast the ball as hard as he can on every single shot.
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 I usually hated it and playing on it. I didn’t feel good about it, and nothing was working. Before this tournament 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 prove to myself and everyone else that I can do it. Medvedev talks about finding success on clay.
So despite openly admitting his lack of affinity for clay courts, Medvedev has showcased an impressive display of determination, adaptability, and skill, ultimately leading to his well-deserved victory in Rome.
With it, he’s now number in the ATP Live Race To Turin rankings and is up to No. 2 in the ATP Rankings after earning his 39th win of the season, which includes titles in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, Miami and now Rome.
What did you guys think of the final? Let me know in the comments.