Berrettini stretched all the way in first match since Wimbledon final
The world No 8 needed two hours and 20 minutes to overcome a spirited challenge from Albert Ramos-Vinolas to advance to the third round in Cincinnati
If Matteo Berrettini was expecting to ease into the summer hardcourt season, he was in for a rude awakening at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
Playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final and recovering from a thigh injury, the Italian was extended to three close sets and needed two hours and 20 minutes to overcome the spirited challenge of Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.
The fifth seeded Italian overturned the loss of the first set in a tie-breaker to defeat Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 and will next meet either next play 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or Olympics silver medalist Karen Khachanov in the third round.
“I fought every point, I tried to put myself in conditions where I could win the match. That’s what I’m most happy about” – Berrettini
Berrettini is enjoying his best season on the tour despite a couple of injury breaks. The Italian also suffered an abdominal injury during the Australian Open in February, forcing him to pull out of his fourth-round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne and did not return to the tour until Monte-Carlo in April.
Since then, the 25-year-old has racked up impressive results, winning Belgrade, reaching the final in Madrid, the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, winning the Queen’s Club and reaching his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. While he has climbed back to his career-high ranking of No. 8, he is now ranked fourth in the ATP Race to London.
Tuesday’s encounter was his first since reaching the Wimbledon final with a thigh injury keeping him out of the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m happy for the win. I think I served really well. My strokes from the baseline weren’t working the way I wanted them to, but I knew from the beginning it’s been a long time since I played a match, especially on hard, so I expected to feel a little bit weird,” Berrettini said as quoted by the ATP Tour. “But the most important thing was I was there, I fought every point, I tried to put myself in conditions where I could win the match. That’s what I’m most happy about.”