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Danill Medvedev making more progress on clay with Italian Open semifinal appearance

2023 Italian Open

ROME , ITALY - MAY 18: Daniil Medvedev of Russia competes against Yannick Hanfmann (not seen) of Germany during the men’s single match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Italian Open) at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy on May 18, 2023. The World Number 3, Daniil Medvedev, defeated Yannick Hanfmann and earned a ticket to the semifinals. (Photo by Claudio Pasquazi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

ROME -- Daniil Medvedev’s clay-court game keeps improving.

First came a run to the French Open quarterfinals in 2021. Then an appearance in the fourth round at Roland Garros a year ago.

Now, the third-ranked Russian is making big strides at the Italian Open.

Medvedev beat German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semifinals in Rome after losing his opener in his three previous appearances at the Foro Italico.

“I said before the tournament that I was feeling really great in practice,” Medvedev said. “It’s always a danger to say this, because when you lose the first round you’re going to be, ‘Why did I say this?’ But I’m proving it. I feel great.”

On an overcast day, Medvedev controlled play with his flat groundstrokes and big first serve to the end the run of Hanfmann, who upset Monte Carlo Masters champion Andrey Rublev in the previous round after also taking out ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz.

Medvedev has dropped only one set in four matches.

His semifinal opponent will be either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Borna Coric, who were playing later.

Medvedev has long been a threat on hard courts, having won the 2021 U.S. Open and reached three other finals between the U.S. Open and Australian Open - which propelled him to the No. 1 ranking. But he struggled with four consecutive first-round exits at Roland Garros from 2017-20.