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Berrettini has “extra motivation” in New York to make up for the fact that “this year has been tough”

Through to the US Open quarter-finals, Matteo Berrettini is ready to try to get his hands on a first Grand Slam title

Matteo Berrettini, US Open 2022 Matteo Berrettini, US Open 2022 ; AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Matteo Berrettini didn’t need long following his right wrist injury that forced him to miss the clay season, to get back on track. And after three hours and 45 minutes spent on the court on Sunday to reach the US Open quarter-finals, the Italian who had beaten Andy Murray in the previous round, proves that he has now fully recovered and is ready to win big. After a rough summer where he had to withdraw from Wimbledon after catching Covid-19 right after winning back-to-back titles on grass, it must feel very nice to him to be finally out of that bad luck tunnel.

“I was sick, had really a high temperature. I was feeling all my bones were broken. It took me three weeks to get back in shape, and I don’t know what would have happened if I played, like if I didn’t get tested and tried to play. I could have had multiple tears and stuff. I got tested because it was the right thing to do because I had symptoms. I’m really sensitive about COVID: fortunately, I didn’t lose anybody from COVID but I have people that did. Obviously now I have extra motivation. I feel like this year has been tough: surgery, COVID. But here I am again, healthy, and really looking forward to playing my quarter-finals.”

Finalist in Gstaad (beaten by Casper Ruud), the Italian didn’t land in New York high on confidence as he went out of Montreal and Cincinnati in the first round. But now with the first week under his belt, he should only be getting better.

“Physically I proved myself once again that I’m good at best-of-five”

“Physically I proved myself once again that I’m good at best-of-five, and I was feeling good, that I was ready for the fight in tough conditions. There is always something you can improve. Hit more winners, obviously. And miss less, serve better. But the important thing is to play well in important moments. That’s what I did today. Obviously, I know I have to play a really high level against Casper, but I’m feeling ready for that.”

Yet, he has a difficult task if he wants to reach the semi-finals here for the second time after his 2019 run: Casper Ruud is going to try to be the wall that breaks his fire. It’ll be a match that comes down to a simple key fact: can Matteo Berrettini hit enough serves and forehands to demolish Ruud’s game before that game burns him out?

“I’m going to try to make him run” – Berrettini about Ruud

“We like to play, like to run around our forehands. You know, like putting a lot of spin on the ball, being aggressive. I think the key is to be aggressive before him (smiling). I’m going to try to make him run and not gonna run too much. The key I think is to be aggressive, to use my weapons, my serve, obviously my forehand.”

Ruud leads their head-to-head by 3 wins to 2 but the only one that happened on hard court was won by Berrettini in 2020. Where? You may want to know indeed: at the US Open, in three straight sets (6-4, 6-4, 6-2). Sure, Ruud has made loads of progress on this surface since then but it’s a reference that will boost the Italian’s confidence before that match and maybe compensate for the doubts that might for example come over how long he can hang in there against Ruud after the time he spent on court today.

Finalist in Wimbledon last year, Matteo Berrettini has already a good reason to be hopeful for this quarter-final: this time he will not have to face Novak Djokovic who destroyed all his Grand Slam hopes last year (quarter-final in Paris and New York, final in London). So facing Ruud will be rough but it’s still a much better option than what he went through last year.

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