Berrettini overpowers Carballes Baena to win Marrakech Open for first title since 2022

The Italian had not won an ATP title since lifting the Queen’s title in 2022, but was too strong for Carballes Baena in the Marrakech Open final

Matteo Berrettini - (c) Action Plus / Panoramic (c) Action Plus / Panoramic
Grand Prix Hassan II •Final • completed
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Matteo Berrettini looked almost back to his best as he powered past Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5, 6-2 to win the Marrakech Open title in impressive style.

It is a hugely significant result for the Italian, who has been on and off tour over the past 18 months with recurrent injury issues and has long been struggling with fitness and form.

But today’s win marks Berrettini’s official return to some semblance of his very best tennis – the kind that led him to a Wimbledon final in 2021. It is also his first title on clay since winning Belgrade in that same year, and is Berrettini’s first ATP title since lifting the Queen’s trophy back in 2022.

close first set gives way to comfortable finish for berrettini

It was a closer match than the scoreline would suggest, with Spaniard Carballes Baena playing his part in what was a watchable final after such an impressive run in Morocco this week.

The pair exchanged breaks early in the opener before Berrettini struck again at the business end of the set, breaking Carballes Baena in the eleventh game to nudge 6-5 ahead.

The big-serving Italian then fended off two break points en route to holding a crucial service game to take the first set 7-5.

Following a lengthy opening service game in the second game of the second set, Berrettini held serve before immediately breaking in impressive style to pile further pressure onto his opponent.

The Italian then struck the decisive blow in the fifth game, eventually wearing Carballes Baena down courtesy of some typically thunderous forehands to move into a commanding double-break lead following his third break point of the game.

The Spaniard did well to steady the ship and hold serve at 5-1 down after more relentless return pressure from his opponent.

But it was simply a case of delaying the inevitable for Caraballes Baena, as Berrettini duly stepped up to the baseline and served out a massive victory to win his first title in nearly two years.

emotional berrettini arrives at much-needed turning point

“It’s been tough the last few years,” said a visibly emotional Berrettini during his winner’s speech.

“Thanks to them (Berrettini’s team) I was able to overcome all the tough moments. My body wasn’t allowing me to play.

“Thanks to these guys and the ones back home, I’m here.

“Thanks to my family who are watching. Happy birthday to my uncle. It’s his birthday today. All the people that made my comeback possible. When I was sad, injured, and didn’t feel like I could make it, thank you very much.

This title marks Berrettini’s eighth at ATP level, although in truth that number should already be a lot higher. When the powerful Italian is at his best, there is little doubt that he belongs among the world’s elite.

While winning a 250-level tournament might not seem like the biggest moment in the career of a player of Berrettini’s calibre, this may prove to be a highly significant turning point in the long-awaited comeback of the former world No 6.

For Berrettini’s sake, and for the benefit of men’s tennis in general, let’s hope this title win proves to be just that.

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