Mighty Matteo! Berrettini rallies past Garin for first Masters semi-final on clay

After a bout of injury, Matteo Berrettini has found his form in Madrid and will take on Casper Ruud for a place in a first Masters 1000 final

Matteo Berrettini
  • What happened? Matteo Berrettini pushed past Cristian Garin in three sets to reach the Madrid Open semi-final 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
  • Why it matters: The Italian is into the semi-finals on his Madrid debut and will face Casper Ruud for a spot in the final.
  • You will also learn: The full ATP semi-final lineup in Madrid.

Madrid Open: Draw | Order of Play | News

Matteo Berrettini is making the most of his Madrid Open debut. The 25-year-old Italian rallied past Cristian Garin in three sets to book his second Masters 1000 semi-final, and his first on clay, on Friday night at the Caja Majica. Berrettini was down by a set and a break at 7-5, 3-1, but the Italian took over from there and won the final 11 games to close out the contest.

Watch: Major Talk # 7 with Matteo Berrettini

Berrettini: “I’m Strong Inside”

The victory pushes Berrettini’s current winning streak to seven matches. After the match he told reporters that he was thrilled to be finding his form again after a difficult period due to an abdominal injury.

“I’m really proud that I came from not an easy place mentally after my injury,” he said. “The first match after my injury (against Davidovich Fokina in Monte-Carlo) was really bad in a way, not for the loss but the way I lost it. I really worked hard. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough. But then I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I’m strong inside.”

Sports are weird 

Berrettini wasn’t exactly sure how he was able to turn the match completely on its ear against Garin. The Chilean looked to be completely in control, but once the Italian pulled even in the second set, everything seemed to go his way.

“I don’t know,” Berrettini said on court after the match. “I think sports sometimes are really weird. I wasn’t playing my best tennis and I think he was playing really solid, and then something switched. I started to fight a little bit more, to make balls and try to find my confidence, but I didn’t expect this – I think the third set, the result it not really real. It’s 6-0, but especially in the first games we fought a lot.”

Berrettini finished with 33 winners against 21 unforced errors and cracked 17 aces. He converted six of his fourteen break points.

Revenge on Ruud? 

After losing a heartbreaking decision in a third-set tiebreaker at Rome (in the quarter-finals) last year, Berrettini knows of the challenges of facing his next opponent, Norway’s Casper Ruud, on clay. The world No 10 hopes he can turn that result and reach his first Masters 1000 final on Saturday.

“I think he’s a great, great player, especially on clay,” he said of the unseeded world No 22. “He’s been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had, like, tough matches. “Last year in Rome was really tricky match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I’m really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sports way. Now I’m happy for my win. Tomorrow I’m going to think about Casper. But, I mean, I’m really happy to play in semis against him.”

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