On Saturday, May 20, the men’s semifinal matches were played at the Rome Masters. In the lower half of the grid, the participants in the confrontation were the third racket in the world, Daniil Medvedev, who received the third favorite of the tournament, and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5). On the way to the semifinals, Medvedev, who played four matches, gave up only one set to his opponents in all this time. The Russian had to make up for it in the third round match with Bernabé Zapata-Miralles. But Daniil beat Emil Ruusuvuori, Alexander Zverev and Yannick Hanfman in two games. Tsitsipas also did it without dropping sets. His victims were Nuno Borges, Lorenzo Sonego, Lorenzo Musetti and Borna Coric.
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Medvedev and Tsitsipas often bump into each other at tournaments. Until today’s semifinals, they have already managed to play 11 times with each other. Seven of these matches were won by the Russian. The first five matches went to Daniil, but then his rival closed the distance. If we consider their face-to-face matches on clay separately, then there was equality – 1-1. Four years ago, in the Monte Carlo Masters round of 16, Medvedev won in three sets, and the 2021 Roland Garros quarterfinal went to Tsitsipas, who won all three games of that match. In addition, the confrontation between Daniil and Stefanos usually goes beyond tennis as such. More about this in our material.
Will there be tantrums this time? Almost every fight between Medvedev and Tsitsipas is a scandal
Before the next match with Tsitsipas, Medvedev paid tribute to his rival, although he assured at the same time that he was going to win. “In recent years, Stefanos has established himself as one of the top three or four players on clay. So I’m definitely not one of the favorites. But I play and I feel very good here. So if I manage to play that well in the semifinals, I’m sure my opponent will have a hard time. This is exactly what I want to achieve. So I hope to go further, win two more games”, said the Russian at a press conference after reaching the semifinals.
Tsitsipas also noted progress in the opponent’s game on the ground. Medvedev has only reached the clay Masters semifinals once before, and that was in Monte Carlo in 2019. “I feel good on court, no matter if it’s a night session or a day session. And I really hope to show my best side against him. I feel that he is playing better than in previous years, ”the ATP press service quotes the Greek.
Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
1995 Davis Cup finalist Andrei Chesnokov believed it would be difficult for Tsitsipas when Medvedev set his sights on the title. “Medvedev is now in such a condition and shape that it will be very difficult for Tsitsipas. But Stefanos plays well on clay. If you take Daniil at the Monte Carlo and Madrid tournaments, then he was not quite the same Medvedev, who had previously wanted to win four finals. Now we see another Danya. If we take the state of mind that Daniil had in Monte Carlo and Madrid, then there was a feeling that he didn’t give a light bulb. But in Rome, he is determined to win, ”Chesnokov said in an interview with the Championship.
And the 2016 Olympic doubles champion Elena Vesnina believed in Medvedev, despite the fact that Tsitsipas, according to her, has the advantage on the ground. “In the match on clay, Tsitsipas will have a little more advantage, because on this surface he has better results. However, Daniel and Stefanos have quite a long showdown. On the ground everything will be decided by a better serve and play in the decisive points. Danya moves very well on the court. But Stefanos has quite an academic game with the cut and shortened – this is a little better suited for unpaved surfaces. It will be an interesting match. Medvedev never fails to surprise everyone this year. I believe in Dan. He is now ready to win his first Masters on clay, ”Vesnina said in an interview with Championship.
Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images
The match started later than planned, not only because of the first three-set semifinal, which is a bit lower, but also because a light rain began to drizzle before kick-off. Medvedev started the match by making a break in the first game. After that, the Russian controlled the course of events for some time, defending his shot and allowing Tsitsipas to take his, but in the eighth game the Greek won a double break point and restored the balance – 4: 4 . After that, the game was suspended due to rain.
Daniil Medvedev to the referee before the match was stopped: it’s already raining a lot, better stoppage
The break lasted almost two hours, but finally the players returned to the court and the game continued. Alas, not for long – Tsitsipas brought the game to the court, after which the judge in the tower again decided to suspend the meeting. The second break lasted more than an hour and a half, and the break seems to have benefited Medvedev more, who took three games in a row. First, the Russian leveled the score, then he made a break and in the 12th game he won triple set point on serve and converted it on the second attempt – 7: 5.
Medvedev also started the second set with a break. As in the first set, Tsitsipas was able to recover, only not in the eighth game, but in the sixth, so the score became 3:3. After that, the rivals took two more games on the field, and in the 11th game the Russian made a key break. Going into the match with a score of 6:5, the Russian went to a double match point and immediately used it: 7:5, 7:5. After the decisive draw, Daniil performed an unusual, half-crouching victory dance, after which he ran to shake his opponent’s hand. Taking into account the breaks, the match lasted more than six hours, but the playing time was 1 hour and 47 minutes.
This is how Medvedev, for the first time in his career, reached the final of the “Masters” on clay. The Russian’s opponent in the final will be the 20-year-old Dane Holger Rune, who beat the Norwegian Kasper Ruud that same day. In the first set, only Ruud had break points, but in the sixth game he failed to convert a triple break point. However, the Norwegian turned out to be stronger in the tiebreaker – 7:2. In the second set, Ruud made a break in the middle of the game, but in the eighth game Rune, having taken a medical timeout shortly before, answered him in kind – 4: 4. In the ninth game, the Dane recovered two break points (that is, two hidden match points!), and then brought the opponent’s serve to nil: 6:4. In the third set, Holger finished off the opponent, taking serve from him twice, and the second time – in the last game, and won a strong-willed victory: 6: 7 (2: 7), 6: 4, 6 : 2.
The Rune-Medvedev final will take place on May 21. Follow all the events in the “Championship”.