Ashraf Ali Siddiqui describes an important tennis
Medvedev Wins Italian Open – Daniil Medv¬edev beat Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5 to win the Italian Open, his first trophy in a clay court tournament and a major boost ahead of the French Open with the match lasting one-hour, 41-minute win over the 20-year-old Dane. Medvedev, who had been 0-3 in Rome prior to this year’s edition, claimed his fifth title of the season and 20th of his career. The former world number one Medvedev who knocked out 2017 champion Alexander Zverev and 2022 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way to the final is pretty much in superb form. This Italian Open final was the first in Rome since 2004 without either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
Medvedev was an opening-round loser in the French capital in all his first four visits before making the quarter-finals in 2021 and last 16 in 2022 and Italian Open secured him a sixth trophy at the elite Masters 1000 level. Medvedev took charge of the final which started 90 minutes late due to more rain, seizing the opening set with a break in the final game. The momentum slowed in the second as Rune began with a break of the third seed to love, only to lose it for 2-all. World number seven Rune struck back in the seventh game, which began with a 38-shot rally and ended with Medvedev sending a return long to trail 4-3. Rune made it 5-3 as he won his 13th point from 16 but was broken back for a second time in the set for 5-5. Two games later, Medvedev took victory when his opponent fired a forehand long.
On the other hand Elena Ryb¬a¬k¬ina of Kazakhstan won the Italian Open title when her Ukrainian opponent Anhelina Kalinina was for¬c¬ed to retire through injury. World number six Ryba¬kina, the reigning Wim¬bledon champion was leading 6-4, 1-0 when Kalinina called it quits with a left thigh injury shortly after midnight in a final long-delayed by rain. Rybakina, 23, is the first player to capture two WTA 1000 titles this season having already won the prestigious Indian Wells hard court tournament. She was also runner-up at the Austr¬alian Open and in Miami.
She told the hardy fans in the stadium, who had sat through more than four hours of rain delays. Rybakina, who will rise to four in the world ahead of the French Open, is only the third woman to have reached the finals at the Australian Open, Indiana Wells, Miami and Rome in the same season. The others were Monica Seles in 1991 and Maria Sharapova in 2012. The Russian-born Ryba¬kina has now won 28 matches this season — only world number two and Australian Open cha¬m¬pion Aryna Sabalenka has won more, with 29. Kalinina, 26, said that her physio had kept her fit enough to compete until the end in Rome. The Weekender