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Berrettini holds off Davidovich Fokina to reach US Open quarter-finals
The Italian’s 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win put him through to a fifth straight Grand Slam quarter-final
Italian Matteo Berrettini outlasted Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in a gruelling encounter at the US Open on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals for the third time in four years.
In hot, humid conditions, Berrettini trailed by a set and a break but rebounded well and when Davidovich Fokina was struggling with left knee pain in the fifth, he took advantage to reach his fifth straight Grand Slam quarter-final.
The Italian, a semi-finalist at the US Open in 2019, will now play either French lucky loser Corentin Moutet or fifth seed Casper Ruud of Norway in the last eight.
“It’s not the way I wanted to win the match but I’ll take it,” Berrettini said.
“I’m really proud because I didn’t start the match the way I wanted to. In the fourth set honestly I was a little tired and he was playing unbelievably. I said to myself in the fifth set, now I’m going to give everything.”
Davidovich Fokina starts fast
Davidovich Fokina, ranked 39, began superbly while Berrettini, who beat Andy Murray in the previous round, was slow out of the blocks. The Spaniard wrapped up the first set and was looking good in the second before Berrettini recovered an early break and then levelled the match in a tiebreak.
The Italian, who had to miss Roland-Garros through injury and then Wimbledon because he had Covid-19, took the third but Davidovich Fokina, who went through his whole box of tricks, including numerous drop shots, levelled to take it into a decider.
The final set began with three straight breaks but after Berrettini broke for 3-1, the writing was on the wall for the Spaniard, who had a medical timeout at 4-2 for a left knee issue.
Berrettini showed him no mercy in the final stages, finishing things off with a superb drop shot, lob combination.
Serve the key for Berrettini
In the end, Berrettini finished with 18 aces and won 84 percent of points when he landed his first serve. He also took six of his 10 break points, while Davidovich Fokina converted on only four of 13.
Berrettini beat Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry (6-2, 6-3, 6-3), French lucky loser Hugo Grenier (2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7)) and Murray (6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3) ahead of his victory.
Earlier in the tournament, Davidovich Fokina defeated Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka (6-3, 7-5, 6-3), Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (7-6 (3), 5-7, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (3)) and Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan (6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4).
US Open, New York City (Grand Slam), other round of 16 matches:
- Marin Čilić vs. Carlos Alcaraz : Monday
- Ilya Ivashka vs. Jannik Sinner : Monday
- Frances Tiafoe vs. Rafael Nadal : Monday
- Cameron Norrie vs. Andrey Rublev : Monday
- Daniil Medvedev vs. Nick Kyrgios : Sunday
- Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Karen Khachanov : Sunday
- Corentin Moutet vs. Casper Ruud : Sunday