Berrettini Blasts To Queen's Club Crown
It is safe to say Matteo Berrettini will remember his first appearance at The Queen's Club.
The Italian star beat home favourite Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 on Sunday to become the first player to win the cinch Championships on debut since 17-year-old Boris Becker in 1985. The top seed did not face a break point in the final to triumph after one hour and 57 minutes.
"[It was an] unbelievable week," Berrettini said during the trophy ceremony. "If I think about [Boris'] name and my name, it’s crazy. I was dreaming about playing this tournament. I was watching [it] when I was a kid and now I had the chance to lift the trophy, so it’s a dream come true."
The champion had previously claimed four ATP Tour trophies, but none had come above the ATP 250-level. This is the first ATP 500 triumph for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals competitor.
"It was definitely a really good week. When you win a tournament, it means that you're playing good. But I think during the tournament, after every match I was increasing my level," Berrettini said. "I think today I had to play my best tennis, especially in the important points, to win... I'm really happy with my performance overall."
Berrettini enjoyed an impressive run through the London field, lifting the trophy with the loss of just one set. The 25-year-old, who also defeated former World No. 1 Andy Murray, current British No. 1 Daniel Evans and fourth seed Alex de Minaur this week, is the first Italian in the Open Era to win this title.
The World No. 9 dominated on serve throughout the tournament, losing his serve just twice in five matches. Against Norrie, Berrettini blasted 19 aces to overcome the gritty World No. 41. The Italian remains in seventh in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin as he pursues a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held from 14-21 November. However, after starting the week 785 points behind sixth-placed Daniil Medvedev, he is within 285 points of the Russian.
The top seed had two opportunities to break in the second set, but Norrie played courageously and he did not lose a point in the tie-break to force a deciding set. The Briton also battled hard to stave off two more break points in the decider, but Berrettini broke through on his third opportunity of the set when Norrie missed a backhand into the net.
"He’s a great player. We never played each other and I think this year he’s shown how he can play on all surfaces," Berrettini said. "He’s made finals, he’s playing great tennis… I’m sure he’s going to lift a title really soon."
Norrie was trying to become the second British singles champion at Queen's Club since World War II and lift his first ATP Tour trophy. This was the 25-year-old's fourth tour-level final and his third of the season. Despite the loss, Norrie is third on the ATP Tour with 29 victories this year.
"I think I played okay. The first set I just donated him the break, and that was the first set. I didn't have any really chances on his serve," Norrie said. "But he's tricky because he's obviously serving very good [on the] first and second serve, and then you're back to serving very quickly. Obviously not easy, but I did everything I could."
Did You Know?
Berrettini has proven a tough foe on grass. The Italian is now 17-5 on the surface and he also triumphed on the lawns of Stuttgart two years ago.