It was a long day for tennis fans at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia of Rome, but what a show and display of tennis it offered! Quality matches and big fights entertained the crowds until late and allowed the program to overcome the rain delays of the day before.
Following two big surprises on the ATP side of the draws, the evening matches ended up prizing the higher ranked players in their match up.
Medvedev growing into clay
It was no secret that the third seed here in Rome did not particularly enjoy the surface prior to this season. His results and comments only reinforced the public knowledge of his difficult relationship with clay, however, this season something has changed. A much more accepting attitude is helping Daniil Medvedev remain calmer and mostly more focused during the tough battles that the surface requires. During his match against Alexander Zverev, this was made clear, especially in the first set, where he dominated the German from the baseline. Not even a little moment with the crowd after some booing following his questioning of a call could put him off and finally he took the victory with a very convincing 6-2 7-6(3).
In the quarters, Medvedev will face another German player as he will try to avenge his compatriot and friend Andrey Rublev, who lost to Yannick Hanfmann in three sets.
Coric ends Marozsan cinderella run
It all came down to a few points in the match between Borna Coric and Fabian Marozsan, but in the end it was the Croat to get away with a victory that ended the dream fortnight of his opponent. Marozsan arrived to this tournament having never played a Main Draw match on the ATP tour and no victories against top 100 opponents. His goal, admittedly, was to win a match in the qualies, so safe to say he exceeded his own expectations: after qualifying, he started played the tennis of his life taking down Correntin Moutet, Jiri Lehecka, and most notably Carlos Alcaraz en route to this fourth round. The Hungarian looked ready for another upset as he played his aggressive tennis to find himself a set up and with two chances to break Coric early in the second set.
The Croat, however, responded to the pressure situation with quality tennis and turned things around: he held his serve and used at best the only two break points his opponent offered in the last two sets. 3-6 6-4 6-3 the final score which secured him a quarterfinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas – the Italian slayer
Having had to finish his match against Lorenzo Sonego on the same day as his fourth round against Lorenzo Musetti, Stefanos Tsitsipas caused a double upset for Italian fans with as many victories. The late night classic that followed the epic encounter between Anhelina Kalinina and Beatriz Haddad-Maia was a great sign for the Greek who is still looking for his best form this season, but who seems to be moving in the right direction here in Rome. Despite the late hour and the heavy conditions that the cold weather and humid court imposed, last year’s finalist played another solid match against an inspired Musetti. The two battled throughout, but Tsitsipas proved stronger in the key points, closing both sets 7-5 thanks to a higher gear found when he needed it most.