Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Wimbledon: Berrettini edges Zverev; Tsitsipas, Rune also register wins

Having played just one match in the past three months coming into Wimbledon due to a stomach injury, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini rediscovered his best form to beat German 19th seed Alexander Zverev in a third round contest, here.

Playing Zverev on No. 1 Court in a match that began with the roof open and concluded with it closed after a brief second-set downpour, Berrettini used his weight of shot on serve and from the baseline to overwhelm Zverev 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in two hours and 27 minutes.

“It must be something special about this place. I love to play here. Last year I missed it unfortunately and I still didn’t heal from that withdrawal. This tournament changed my career, my life, it’s so special to be here,” Berrettini said.

Zverev had eight service holds to love (including four straight to start the second set) but couldn’t put a dent in the Berrettini serve, earning just one breakpoint chance for the match. It was a devastating performance that will not have escaped the attention of top seed Carlos Alcaraz, whom Berrettini plays next.

A finalist in his last outing at Wimbledon in 2021, Berrettini missed last year’s tournament after testing positive for Covid-19. This year, he came into the tournament with a modest 7-7 record after an injury-interrupted season. In his only appearance on grass before Wimbledon, the 27-year-old eked out just three games against Sonego in the first round of Stuttgart.

Despite his struggles, Berrettini has stepped it up at the majors. He has now reached the second week in eight of the past nine Grand Slams he has contested, a run that includes three quarter-finals, the 2022 Australian Open semi-final and the ’21 Wimbledon final, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

In another men’s singles contest, Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed a fourth-round spot with a straight-sets victory against Laslo Djere.

The fifth-seeded Greek prevailed 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4 on No. 2 Court at the All England Club to reach the last 16 for the second time at the grass-court major.

Tsitsipas held his nerve at the tail end of tight first and second sets before a confident third-set display booked a fourth-round clash against Christopher Eubanks in London.

Meanwhile, Holger Rune saved two match points and later recovered from 2/6 and 5/8 in a final-set tie-break to edge Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a thriller at Wimbledon.

The sixth-seeded Dane won the final five points of the match to gut out a 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(10-8) victory and advance to the fourth round for the third straight time at a major.

With this, Rune levelled his ATP Head to Head series with Davidovich Fokina at 1-1. He will next face 10th seed Frances Tiafoe or 21st seed Grigor Dimitrov as he bids for his third major quarter-final.

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