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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday May 18, 2023


Daniil Medvedev continued his fine form on the clay in Rome, powering into the semis for the first time.

Photo Source: TTV

Daniil Medvedev continues to shine on the red clay like never before.

The Russian, who in recent years has developed a reputation as a player who absolutely despises playing on the surface, has changed in tune in 2023.

Tennis Express

No longer content to sabotage himself for a three-month stretch of the season, Medvedev has committed to shoring up his clay game and the proof is in the pudding at Rome.

Having never won a single match at the Foro Italico prior to 2023, Medvedev has reeled off four on the trot to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal on a clay court. The 27-year-old powered past Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann on Thursday as he quelled the qualifier’s challenge with a maddening dose of clarity and consistency that put him at the advantage from first ball to last.

Medvedev, who started 2023 with an 18-23 lifetime record on clay, improves to 26-25 lifetime on the surface, and 8-2 this season.

He will face either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Borna Coric for a spot in the final on Saturday in Rome.

Medvedev says it isn’t overly complicated: hard work is paying off on the clay this season.

“I didn't really change anything in practice, but maybe finally this year the practice that we made for clay season worked, even if we didn't have a lot of time before Monte-Carlo,” he said.

Medvedev also said that the expanded format of Madrid and Rome has given him extra time to practice on the surface. Last week he talked of working on his sliding footwork before his fourth appearance at Rome.

“I had a few good days after Madrid,” he said. “Madrid and Rome are two weeks, gives you more time between the tournaments, so I had more time to practice. Just really happy that I managed to play well and feel well, 'cause that was not the case before – hopefully I can continue this way till the end of the clay season.”

Medvedev only failed to put three returns in play over the course of the 80-minute contest, and they all game in the seventh game of the opening set.

He made 49 of 52 returns in total, cracked 22 winners against 16 unforced errors and broke serve six times from eight return games. Medvedev was able to win 23 of 34 first-serve return points against the German.

“I think every game we had deuce, advantage, deuce,” Medvedev said. “I just managed to be better in these points. I think that's what also clay is about. I managed to lose two times my serve and win 6-2, 6-2.

“Just trying to put the ball back in play because on clay that's the most important.”

Medvedev improves his ATP-leading win total to 37 (37-5) and reaches his seventh semifinal of 2023.

Hanfmann leaves Rome with a lot to celebrate. After reaching his maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal, he will rise to a career-high ranking of 63 in the ATP rankings next week (from 101).


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