Daniil Medvedev overcame adverse conditions and a dogged Stefanos Tsitsipas to advance to the final of the Italian Open, where he will face Holger Rune.
The Russian weathered a storm from the Rome rain and his Greek opponent to prevail 7-5 7-5, prior to which Rune won his Scandinavian battle with Norway's Casper Ruud 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Prior to the 2023 tournament, Medvedev had never progressed beyond the second round in three appearances on the Italian clay, but the world number three was a worthy victor in one hour and 47 minutes on Saturday.
The Russian broke Tsitsipas straight off the back before the world number five got the contest back on serve in the eighth game, but an error-strewn 11th proved to be his undoing, as he went from 40-0 up to being broken for the second time after three unforced errors and a double fault.
Medvedev held to 15 to take the first set, and a strikingly similar second set once again saw the world number three break in the first and 11th games either side of a response from Tsitsipas.
All in all, the duo's contest was not resolved for over five hours due to the heavens opening, but Medvedev found humour in the situation after booking his spot in the showpiece match.
"I enjoyed playing today. It was very tough with the rain delay, I warmed up like six or seven times, but actually sometimes it can throw you off, you can be a little bit angry [about] the situation. Today, I don't know why, I was just kind of laughing," Medvedev said on the court.
"There were so many moments where I was with my coach, [and he said], 'OK they are opening the court, let's go warm up'. We [went] there, started warming up, [and received a] text: 'The rain is heavy, stop warming up'.
"We were laughing about this, we were actually OK. [We said], 'OK, we [will] play', and that's what we managed to do."
Earlier in the day, Rune came back from a set down to eliminate his fellow Nordic hopeful Ruud in three sets, taking two hours and 43 minutes to advance to his second Masters final.
Rune saved three break points in a tense first set without bringing up one of his own, and Ruud asserted his dominance in the tie-breaker, winning the first five points en route to taking the opener.
The Norwegian was within touching distance of the final after going a set and a break up, but Rune was not waving the white flag and strung together a four-game winning streak in the second, breaking to love in the 10th game to take the match to the distance.
The momentum was firmly on the 20-year-old's side, and a succession of winners coupled with untimely errors from Ruud saw him race through the third set and book his spot in the final.No Data Analysis info