Wimbledon: Berrettini fends off Hurkacz to raise prospect of dream double for Italy

By Sports Desk July 09, 2021

Matteo Berrettini set up the possibility of a remarkable London double for Italy on Sunday after scorching through to the Wimbledon men's final.

The Queen's Club champion delivered a stunning Centre Court display to demolish Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-0 6-7 (3-7) 6-4, becoming his country's first Wimbledon singles finalist and firing 22 aces to reach 101 for the tournament.

And what a weekend it could now be for the Italians. Berrettini will have a Sunday afternoon shot at glory in south-west London, before attention turns to Wembley where Roberto Mancini's Azzurri face England in the Euro 2020 final.

This semi-final clash of two men who each stand a towering 6ft 5in tilted in Berrettini's favour early, as he won 11 games in a row from 3-2 behind in the opening set, establishing a firm grip. The man in the backwards baseball cap was simply mauling the Pole, who wore his forwards.

It left opponent Hurkacz, who perhaps ended Roger Federer's Wimbledon career with his quarter-final victory over the eight-time champion, scrabbling around for answers to where it was all going wrong.

Berrettini suffered a clinical drubbing by Federer on this court two years ago, winning only five games, but the 25-year-old has progressed since then.

 

It was the most delicate of drop shots that clinched the opening game of the second set, and a drop shot decided the next game too – a poor one from Hurkacz that found the net as he was broken to love. Berrettini was soon two sets up in just 58 minutes.

Rafael Nadal beat Berrettini in the Italian's only previous grand slam semi-final, at the 2019 US Open, and nerves began to show in the third set as Hurkacz came back strongly, taking it on a tie-break.

But an immediate break in the fourth, Hurkacz netting a forehand up the line, was the cue for a yell of "Come on!" from the Italian.

He stayed in front and at 5-3 had a first match point after blazing a forehand winner into the right corner. Hurkacz saved that but not a second in the next game, his service return flying long.

Berrettini said: "I need a couple of hours to understand what happened. I know I played a great match. I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream. I'm so happy and I think that's it."

Data Slam: Hubert goes down but set for rankings boost

Hurkacz was bidding to extend a four-match winning streak against top-10 players, having previously got the better of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev in Miami, and Daniil Medvedev and Federer at Wimbledon. Consolation for him is the knowledge he will climb to a career-high of number 11 in the ATP rankings on Monday.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Berrettini – 60/18
Hurkacz – 27/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Berrettini – 22/1
Hurkacz – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Berrettini – 6/10
Hurkacz – 0/2

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