Matteo Berrettini arrived at Wimbledon during a low point in his career, plagued by injuries and despair over the past 18 months. His body was deteriorating due to the demands of professional tennis, and he contemplated withdrawing from the tournament.
However, he made the decision to compete and surprised everyone by progressing to the second week. On Monday, Berrettini faced Carlos Alcaraz, who proved to be a formidable opponent. Despite initially trailing, Alcaraz rallied and secured his spot in the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Italian.
Expressing his joy, Alcaraz remarked, “I’m really, really happy to get through this amazing match. I’m really happy to be able to play my first quarter-final here in Wimbledon. Really excited about it.
Let’s keep rolling.” This win was a significant achievement for Alcaraz, highlighting his continuous progress on grass courts. Berrettini, a former Wimbledon finalist in 2021, boasts a strong record on grass with four of his seven ATP titles won on this surface. Despite his strengths, he was outplayed by the top seed after losing the first set.
Before the tournament, Berrettini seemed unlikely to make it past the opening round due to his struggles. The previous year had been marred by injuries, including a withdrawal from Wimbledon due to Covid-19.
His issues persisted into the current season, with a devastating 6-1, 6-2 defeat by Lorenzo Sonego in Stuttgart and subsequent doubts about his ability to endure a match at Wimbledon.
However, Berrettini’s fortunes took a dramatic turn during the tournament. He secured straight sets victories over Alex de Minaur and Alexander Zverev, entering the match against the top seed in excellent form.
Despite the Spaniard’s dominance, Berrettini displayed confidence and resilience, saving break points in his service games. With powerful serves and formidable forehands, he kept Alcaraz at bay. Berrettini even managed to break Alcaraz’s serve to claim the first set.
Although trailing by a set, the world No. 1 found solace in his overall performance, despite missed opportunities. Alcaraz demonstrated his exceptional return skills, consistently pressuring Berrettini’s serve.
He turned the tide by delivering stellar returns, using his explosive forehand and strategic drop shots to force Berrettini forward. Alcaraz’s recovery included a remarkable shot, flicking a backhand around the net post for a clean winner while sprinting. He broke Berrettini’s serve early in the second set and maintained his dominance to secure the victory in the following sets.
Berrettini, despite his disappointment, maintained a positive perspective. He acknowledged his achievement, stating, “Probably in a few hours, a few days, I’m going to appreciate even more what I did. I really thought about not playing two days before the tournament. So being in the fourth round and losing like this against Carlos, it’s something I have to be proud of.”
The upcoming quarter-final match between Alcaraz and Holger Rune will make history, as it will be the first time in the open era that two male players under the age of 21 face each other in a Wimbledon quarter-final.
Rune, the sixth seed, also reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final by defeating Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-3. Alcaraz expressed his excitement for the match, highlighting his longstanding connection with Rune since their early tennis days and their familiarity with each other’s game.