Matteo Berrettini Edges Past Stefano Travaglia In All-Italian London Opener | ATP Tour


Top seed Matteo Berrettini had to rally from a break down in both sets of his 7-6(5), 7-6(4) victory over Stefano Travaglia on Tuesday to seal a spot in the second round of cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club. 

In his tournament debut, Berrettini improved to 22-6 on the season after claiming his first victory of the grass-court season. The Italian has tasted success on this surface before, with one of his four tour-level titles coming on the lawns of Stuttgart in 2019 (d. Auger-Aliassime).

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“It’s always a fight [against Stefano]. We know each other pretty well,” Berrettini said in an on-court interview. “We’ve played twice on the ATP Tour, but we’ve played so many more times in Futures, so I’ve known this guy for a long time. He’s always a great opponent, so well done to him. But I’m happy for my win. 

“It really helps me to have so many [Italian] guys [in the Top 100] because you find new energy, and our quality is really high. We practise with each other all the time… It’s really helpful.”

The No.9-ranked Italian was sidelined for much of the early part of the 2021 season due to an abdominal injury, but he bounced back in style during the clay-court swing. Berrettini lifted a trophy at the Serbia Open and reached the final at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Zverev).

He needed a few games to adjust to the new surface after falling behind a break to countryman Travaglia, No. 88 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, on Tuesday. Berrettini trailed by 0-3 in the first set as Travaglia struck short and compact shots on the slick grass, before the top seed found his feet. He again fell behind by 0-2 in the second set, but he recovered quickly to level the score before Travaglia ran away with it. 

Berrettini edged through in both tie-breaks, securing the win to improve to 2-0 in the ATP Head2Head against his countryman. All four sets they have played have gone to tie-breaks, and all four have been won by Berrettini.

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Berrettini’s strong serving kept him from getting into too much trouble on Center Court. He won 81 per cent (44/54) of points behind his booming first serve, fired 14 aces, and saved four of the six break points he faced across one hour and 54 minutes.

He will want to keep improving those figures as he looks ahead to a potential second-round meeting against five-time Queen’s Club champion Andy Murray. The Brit, who took a wild card into his first tour-level singles event since March, takes on Benoit Paire later in the day.

“I’m really looking forward to playing my next match with a crowd,” Berrettini said, before adding with a smile, “I would rather have [a crowd cheering] against me than nobody.”

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