© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Matteo Berrettini becomes the fifth Italian to advance to the Roland Garros third round.

Berrettini Becomes Fifth Italian Into RG Third Round

Seventh seed clubs 39 winners in powerful victory

Four Italians advanced to the third round at Roland Garros on Wednesday, an Open-Era record for most Italians to advance that far at a Grand Slam. Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini, the No. 1 player from his country, didn't want to be left out of the historic achievement.

Berrettini moved into the Round of 32 on Thursday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory against South African Lloyd Harris. It is the second time the Italian has reached the third round on the Parisian terre battue.

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals competitor didn't have it easy against Harris, who played aggressively. But Berrettini executed the cleaner match, hitting 39 winners and claiming 73 per cent (22/30) of his net points. The South African made 48 unforced errors, including a key double fault to go down a break in the final set.

Berrettini will next face German qualifier Daniel Altmaier, who upset countryman Jan-Lennard Struff, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3. Altimaier arrived in Paris without ever playing qualifying at a Grand Slam, but he has won 12 of his 13 sets in qualifying and the main draw. He also beat Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez.

The winner between Berrettini and Altmaier will play a Spaniard: 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut or recent US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta.

Bautista Agut cruised past Hungarian Attila Balazs 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 46 minutes. The 32-year-old hasn't lost before the third round at Roland Garros since 2017. He only made 11 unforced errors and won 76 per cent of his second-serve points.

Carreno Busta is also in good form, beating Argentine Guido Pella 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in what was a dangerous match-up on paper. The Spaniard, who only needed 86 minutes to triumph, also beat tough Aussie John Millman in straight sets in the first round.

Bautista Agut and Carreno Busta have split their four previous ATP Head2Head meetings. Only one of those clashes have come since 2017, when Carreno Busta won 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(4) earlier this year in Rotterdam.

Did You Know?
The other Italians who reached the third round are Marco Cecchinato, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego and Stefano Travaglia.

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