Daniil Medvedev withstood four and a half hours of irritating rain delays to book his first major final on clay, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday at the Rome Masters.

The former No. 1 and 2021 US Open champion finally advanced into the Sunday title match with Holger Rune six hours after his semi-final against Tsitsipas began in the afternoon.

Medvedev has played – and lost – one previous final on clay but came to the Foro Italico last week standing 0-3 at the venue.

His game has lifted ever since, with the third seed admitting he actually had fun despite the lengthy weather interruptions which have  characterised this edition. 

“I’m happy to be in my first clay Masters final and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.

“I enjoyed playing very much. It would have been easy to get angry about the conditions and the delays, but we (his team)  just laughed about it.

“I must have warmed up six or seven times, I knew we would play when we could.”

Medvedev performed an impromptu victory “rain dance” after reaching the final; he is hoping the stunt goes viral online.

Sunday opponent Rune came from a set and a break down to defeat fourth seed Casper Ruud 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2.

Medvedev will be playing his third Masters final of the season after Indian Wells and Miami in March.

Medvedev won nine of the last 10 games to win the first set and moved toward victory with a break for 6-5 in the second.

He is aiming for a fifth trophy of 2023 after losing to Rune last month in Monte Carlo.