Daniil Medvedev won his very first clay-court title on Sunday—which you never would have guessed had you only seen this exemplary performance against a legitimate Roland Garros contender in a cathedral of clay-court tennis.

It's been hard to tell how tongue-in-cheek Medvedev's relationship with the slow surface has been, but as one of the world's best baseliners for years, and a hard out in any setting, it felt like only a matter of time before the Russian simultaneously held a trophy in his hand with clay dirtying his shoes and socks.

Holger Rune, the talented 20-year-old who defeated Novak Djokovic earlier at this event, may have been a slight favorite coming into this final, but after 10 games of play—five to each player—it was clear that Medvedev was up to the task. The Russian would hold serve for 6-5, before tracking down a Rune drop shot and firing a crosscourt forehand winner on break point to take the opening set.

Medvedev now leads the ATP points race with 4,300; Alcaraz and Djokovic are second and third.

Medvedev now leads the ATP points race with 4,300; Alcaraz and Djokovic are second and third.


Rune appeared to be pushing this contest to a decider. He built momentum by winning a 38-shot rally to open his 3-3 return game, and then the following three points to break Medvedev. He would go on to serve for the set at 5-4.

But a botched short forehand putaway at 15-15 gave a point away, and at 30-30, Rune hit another forehand long, this time from the baseline. And on the subsequent break point, it was Medvedev who won a long rally. It wasn't 38 shots, but it was enough to snuff the Dane's push.

At 5-5, Medvedev faced one more hurdle, needing to save a break point. He did so with an ace, and then fired an unreturnable serve to reach advantage. Rune would win just one more point after that, thanks to a daring Medvedev drop-shot attempt at triple match point.

That chance didn't pay off, but the deficit was too much for Rune to overcome.


In spite of the loss, Rune will be ranked No. 6 tomorrow morning.

"I think I was very nervous stepping into the match," said Rune. "Obviously came through from a great match yesterday. Maybe put too many expectations on myself, even though I told myself not to."

As for Medvedev, he'll be at No. 2—a major move ahead of the upcoming major in Paris. Rune was asked about the Rome champion's chances at Roland Garros.

"I still think Novak is the main favorite for the event. He's the one with the most slams of who's playing, the most experience. Then we have Alcaraz. We have Medvedev. We have a lot of guys.

"For sure he's been showing good signs in this clay season, playing better and better. Yeah, for sure, I mean, I think he's one of the favorites."