Taking place way beyond his usual spot in the calendar, Rome will be the second Masters 1000 event of the season, starting on Monday, right after the US Open! Alongside Kitzbuhel and Hamburg, Rome is the biggest test for the players ahead of Roland Garros, the third and final Major of the deformed season, gathering the world's best players, excluding Roger Federer.
For the first time, there will be no crowd at Foro Italico this year. The organizers have decided to host the event with no spectators, following health rules and taking care of everything to produce a safe tennis week. The US Open semi-finalist will receive a buy in the first round, but that wasn't convincing enough for world no.
4 Daniil Medvedev to make a long trip, change both the continent and surface and play Rome next week. The Russian has withdrawn from the event in the Italian capital, hoping to go all the way this weekend in New York and win the first Major crown.
In the previous two years, Daniil had struggled to notch a victory in Rome, having to wait until 2021 to change that. There is no such a bad streak for Daniil in New York, playing in the final a year ago and reaching the semis last night following a 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 triumph over Andrey Rublev in the first all-Russian Major quarter-final.
It was a tight battle between two good friends who have played each other for years now, with Medvedev prevailing in the decisive moments to seal the deal in straight sets and continue his perfect run in New York. They both had more winners than unforced errors while Medvedev had the upper hand, firing 51 direct points with 37 errors and leaving Rublev on a more reduced 23-17 rate.
The older Russian dominated with his first serve, playing better on the second and staying away from break points. He stole Andrey's serve once in the second set, converting the lone break opportunity and claiming both tie breaks to move over the top and escape eventual drama.
Alongside Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev is another big name out of Rome.
Both players served well in the opener to reach the tie break, with no break chances up for grabs. Andrey held in the first game after a lengthy rally of more than 30 strokes, with Medvedev getting his name on the scoreboard with a service winner in game two.
Medvedev held in game ten for a 5-5 and returned from 0-40 in the 11th for the first deuce on the return. The Stadium's power went down and we missed a couple of points, as Andrey held to move 6-5 up. Medvedev brought the 12th game home at 15 to set up a tie break, falling 6-3 down after Rublev's lucky net cord winner.
In one of the pivotal moments, the younger Russian wasted all three set points and allowed Daniil to seal the set with an ace, rattling off five consecutive points and stealing it in 62 minutes. Carried by this momentum, Medvedev barely put a foot wrong behind the initial shot in set number two, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and securing the only break with a smash winner in game six that sent him 4-2 in front.
Serving for the set in game nine, Daniil fired a service winner to clinch it in 32 minutes, opening two sets to love advantage and gathering boost ahead of set number three. There, we saw 12 commanding holds, just like in the opener, with Rublev doing his best to stay in touch and reach the tie break after creating no break chances throughout the encounter.
They traded early mini-breaks and Andrey came back from 5-3 down, only to drop a point on serve at 5-6 to propel a compatriot into the semis.