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Italian Open: Daniil Medvedev beats Holger Rune to win first ATP clay-court title

Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Holger Rune in the Italian Open final

Daniil Medvedev had not won a match in Rome before this year

Daniil Medvedev claimed the first clay-court title of his career as he beat Holger Rune in the Italian Open final.

The Russian third seed, who said he used to “hate” playing on clay, won 7-5 7-5 in Rome on Sunday.

It is Medvedev’s fifth title of 2023 and victory lifts him above Novak Djokovic to second in the world rankings.

He will also be the second seed at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros on 28 May.

“Honestly, I didn’t believe I could win a Masters 1,000 on clay in my career,” Medvedev, 27, said in his on-court interview.

“Usually I hated it, I hated playing on it, I didn’t feel good on it. Nothing was working.

“I don’t think I love it. I love hard court – my only love in tennis – but I definitely like clay courts much more now.”

After the start of the final was delayed by nearly two hours, both players held serve through a tight first 11 games, but Medvedev took advantage of a poor drop shot from the Dane to claim the first set 7-5.

The 20-year-old bounced back strongly at the start of the second, breaking Medvedev’s opening serve and holding to take a 2-0 lead.

Medvedev, who had not won a match in three previous appearances in Rome, levelled the scores before Rune broke again for a 4-3 advantage.

However, the world number seven broke back for a second time and held his nerve, saving a break point to hold serve before breaking Rune to wrap up the victory.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Britain’s Jack Draper beat France’s Alexandre Muller 6-2 6-3 in the opening round of the ATP 250’s Lyon Open.

Draper will face either Oriol Roca Batalla of Spain or Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in the last 16.

British number one Cameron Norrie, who has received a bye in the first round, will also be in action on Tuesday when he takes on Belgium’s David Goffin or Spain’s Alvaro Lopez San Martin.

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