Berrettini breaks new ground to beat Monfils and reach Australian Open semi-finals

It was one step too far for fan favourite Gael Monfils as the Italian won a five-set epic

Matteo Berrettini Italy’s Matteo Berrettini reacts during his quarter final match against France’s Gael Monfils (Panoramic)

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play 

Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open as he beat Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.

The scoreline, as always, never tells the whole story. It doesn’t highlight the 22-minute game, in the middle of the second set, with the Frenchman 2-1 up and trying desperately to break the world No 7 – but to no avail. The Italian put an end to Monfils’ formidable run after three hours and 49 minutes of play – but the 35-year-old had forced five sets having lost the first two, his immense forehand coming to his rescue. Even when three match points down he kept the pressure up, saving two until he netted the return on the last.

Monfils: He had to work to beat me

“You still believe,” said Monfils afterwards when asked how he kept going from a two-set deficit. “At the end, sometimes what’s funny is sometime people see me too strong. They forget that [I] play a top-10 player [who] is younger than me and more experienced than me, because he beat me in quarter-final [of the 2019 US Open], played the final in a slam [at Wimbledon in 2021], play actually semi-final as well.

“He handled it good, play good, big game. Obviously my tactic was not up at the beginning, but as I say, I’m in shape, I have a strong belief, I play good. Of course he will have a tough time, you know. I think I’m a good player. Not better than him but good player. So no matter what, he needs to work to beat me.”

Berrettini next plays 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.

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