Rune sets up Italian Open final against Medvedev
Holger Rune's run at the Italian Open has already been extraordinary. And it's not done yet.
The 20-year-old Dane recorded his second victory over Novak Djokovic in little more than six months in the quarter-finals. Then he rallied past Casper Ruud 6-7 (7-2) 6-4 6-2 in the semi-finals on Saturday.
On Sunday, Rune will be looking to top it all off with a third consecutive victory over a top-five player at the Foro Italico when he faces Daniil Medvedev for the trophy.
Rune improved to 7-1 in his career against players ranked in the top five.
"I play some of my best tennis when I play the top guys of the world," Rune said. "You need it against those players."
Medvedev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5 7-5 in a semi-final that was suspended for a total of over four hours due to rain over two separate stoppages late in the first set.
Making the final marked quite a turnaround for Medvedev, who lost his opening match in Rome in his three previous appearances.
If he beats Rune, Medvedev will return to No.2 in the rankings and thus be seeded second for the French Open, which starts next weekend.
It will be just the second clay-court final for Medvedev, and first since 2019.
He celebrated with a little dance after converting his first match point more than six hours after the match started.
"It's like being in the club completely drunk. When you are dancing - and I have a lot of friends like this - you feel like you are the god of the dance floor. But then when they show you the video it was not the thing," Medvedev said.
"So I don't know how did it go but I was just happy to be in my first clay Masters final."
The seventh-ranked Rune was down a set and a break before he overcame Ruud, who had won all four of their previous meetings.
"It's crazy. I really played some of my best tennis, especially the last two matches, first against Novak and then against Casper," Rune said. "Two so difficult players to play, so I had to find my best tennis. And I actually didn't find it today, only at the end."
It will be Rune's third clay-court final this season after losing to Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo and beating Botic van de Zandschulp in Munich.