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Daniil Medvedev’s success in Rome makes him one of the favorites at the French Open

Daniil Medvedev in action ahead of the ATP Madrid Open.

Third seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat seventh seed Holger Rune of Denmark 7-5 7-5 last Sunday to win the Italian Open title. This was his first Masters 1000 title on clay and sixth overall. The 27-year-old Russian, who experienced a slump in his form after his defeat in the Australian Open final in 2022, seems to have put the bad days behind him and has had a great 2023 so far.

Moreover, with his victory in Rome, he seems to have staked his claim for the French Open title. The only Grand Slam on clay gets underway at Roland Garros next Sunday, and with Rafael Nadal not playing in it for the first time since 2004, Medvedev has as good a chance as anyone who enters the fray.

Daniil Medvedev has altered his game somewhat to make it suited for clay:

Medvedev has made some changes to his game of late that makes it more suitable for clay. He does not hit his strokes as flat as he used to do and imparts some amount of top spin into his forehand. Moreover, his crosscourt backhand remains his bread-and-butter shot and he also pulls the trigger down the line occasionally to take his opponents by surprise.

He has also added the drop shot, which is a very effective shot on clay, to his repertoire. While his net game still needs improvement, it has improved considerably and makes him a better-rounded player.

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Medvedev’s superb movement and defense continue to help his cause:

Medvedev is one of the best movers on a tennis court and covers the width of baseline like very few other players can do. He can also play his passing shots very well off either wing–as Rune found out in the final–which means that his opponents cannot afford to put pressure on him by rushing the net.

If the big Russian continues to cover the court as well as he usually does at Roland Garros, he will take some stopping. With the success in Rome behind him, Medvedev will also be confident enough to make a deep run into the French Open. He has proved time and again that he is a big-match player and it will be difficult to ignore his credentials at Roland Garros.

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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