SF Preview: Medvedev & Tsitsipas Meet In Rome Blockbuster
Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived in Rome last week having had contrasting fortunes at the clay-court event. Medvedev had never won a match in three previous appearances in the Italian capital, while Tsitsipas held a 10-5 record, advancing to the championship match last year.
The third seed Medvedev has found his best level in the Italian capital this fortnight, though, defeating Alexander Zverev en route to his second ATP Masters 1000 clay-court semi-final (Monte-Carlo 2019). The 27-year-old has enjoyed a standout season, earning a Tour-leading 37 wins, with 18 coming at ATP Masters 1000 events. Medvedev, who is currently first in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, has captured five ATP Masters 1000 titles, more than semi-finalists Tsitsipas (2), Rune (1) and Ruud (0) combined.
The third seed has never clinched a tour-level crown on clay, though, and downplayed his chances of winning his fifth trophy of the season in Rome when asked by a journalist following his quarter-final win against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.
“I definitely don't put myself as a favourite,” Medvedev said. “But I have been playing extremely well here, feeling extremely well. So if I manage to play this well in the semi-finals, I'm sure I'm going to give a hard time to my opponent. That's what I want to do. Hopefully I can go even further and try to win two more matches.”
Medvedev leads Tsitsipas 7-4 in their ATP Head2Head series, with the pair locked at 1-1 on clay. Tsitsipas’ two ATP Masters 1000 triumphs both came on the clay in Monte-Carlo and the Greek looks in good shape to add to his tally this weekend in Rome. The 24-year-old, who has won three of his past four clashes against Medvedev, has not dropped a set en route to his 14th ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.
“He's been playing well and I'm playing [well] also," Tsitsipas said on court of his upcoming match against Medvedev. "I feel good on court, regardless if it's a night session or a day session and I really hope to bring the best out of me against him. I feel like he's playing better than the years before."
Tsitsipas used a good mix of power and creativity in his 13th clay-court win of the season against Borna Coric, changing the spin on his shots and executing the drop shot effectively to pull the Croatian around. With Medvedev favouring a deep court position to soak up his opponent’s aggression, Tsitsipas could look to use similar tactics against the third seed to disrupt his rhythm on center court.
Seeking his first trophy of the season in Rome, the Greek will rise to third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin if he reaches the final, surpassing Novak Djokovic. Medvedev currently leads the Race To Turin and will climb to No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings if he clinches the crown in Rome.