Forza Matteo! Berrettini Reaches First Grand Slam QF
Matteo Berrettini’s best season keeps getting better. The Italian, seeded No. 24, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Russian Andrey Rublev on Monday at the US Open. The 23-year-old became the first Italian man to advance to the last eight in New York in 42 years.
"It's something really crazy. I cannot believe it right now," Berrettini said in his on-court interview. "Seeing my family and my team smiling and crying for me now is something really special."
Berrettini's breakthrough season has included ATP Tour titles in Budapest (d. Krajinovic) and Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime), in addition to Top 10 wins over Karen Khachanov and Alexander Zverev. He clinched a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 20 in June, but is guaranteed to surpass that when the newest standings are released on Monday.
Rublev got off to a slow start as Berrettini went on a five-game run to race through the opening set, then scored an early break at 1-1 in the second set. Although Rublev gradually began to find his form, the 23-year-old cruised through most of the baseline rallies with off-speed slice backhands that set up winning forehands.
Berrettini roared in approval after firing a forehand winner at 5-5 in the third set that gave him the opportunity to serve out the match, but the magnitude of the moment proved too much. A pair of unforced errors set up break points for Rublev and he double faulted to gift the break back.
The No. 24 seed showed impressive mental toughness and immediately regrouped. He knocked off a forehand volley winner for a 4/2 mini-break advantage, then ripped another clean baseline winner as his team roared their approval.
Rublev had more Houdini acts up his sleeve, though, crawling back from 2/5 and erasing a match point at 5/6 with a strong first serve. Berrettini buckled down once more, prevailing in a lengthy baseline rally to set up a match point at 7/6 and hitting a forehand volley winner to prevail in two hours and 10 minutes. Berrettini now leads Rublev 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.