Daniil Medvedev took the first clay title of his career when he defeated Holger Rune in the final of the Italian Open.
The Russian third seed, who said he “hated” playing on clay, won 7-5 7-5 in Rome on Sunday.
It is Medvedev’s fifth title of 2023 and the win moves him above Novak Djokovic for second in the world rankings.
He will also be the second seed at the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros on May 28.
“Honestly, I didn’t believe I would win 1,000 Masters on clay in my career,” Medvedev, 27, said in a court interview.
“Most of the time I hated it, I hated playing on it, I didn’t feel right. Nothing worked.
“I don’t think I like it. I like hard court – my only love for tennis – but I like clay courts more now.”
The start of the final was delayed for almost two hours, both players played 11 solid games, but Medvedev took advantage of a good throw from the Dane to take the first set 7-5.
The 20-year-old made a strong comeback early in the second, breaking Medvedev’s opening and holding to take a 2-0 lead.
Medvedev, who had not won a match in his previous three games in Rome, took the lead before Rune broke back to make it 4-3.
However, the world number seven came back again and kept his nerve, saving a break to serve before breaking Rune to seal the win.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Britain’s Jack Draper beat France’s Alexandre Muller 6-2 6-3 in the opening match of the ATP 250’s Lyon Open.
Draper will face Spain’s Oriol Roca Batalla or Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in the last 16.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who received a bye in the first round, will be in action again on Tuesday when he faces either Belgium’s David Goffin or Spain’s Alvaro Lopez San Martin.