Daniel Altmaier: The German Qualifier Who Beat Berrettini

Daniel Altmaier, currently ranked 186th in the world, is the latest player behind yet another surprise upset at the 2020 French Open.

The qualifier brushed past seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes this afternoon on Chatrier. He became the first male singles player in 34 years to win his first nine sets played in a Grand Slam.

Altmaier looked solid on serve and was able to capitalise on break point chances where Berrettini wasn’t. He won 74% first serve points and 63% on his second, and importantly won 4/7 break points while the Italian only managed to convert 1/7.

The 22-year-old built on his already impressive run, having beaten Feliciano Lopez in the first round and countryman Jan-Lennard Struff in the round of 64.

He has been clutch all week, winning all three tiebreakers he’s had to play 7-1, 7-4, and 7-5 respectively. The German has shown little sign of nerves during his debut in a Grand Slam main draw.

Who is Daniel Altmaier?

The 186th ranked player often plays in Challengers and Futures, and had just five ATP matches under his belt before the 2020 French Open.

His most recent ATP Tour match was a loss to Martin Klizan in the first round of Hamburg last year, and his only two main draw wins came in 2o17. Altmaier beat Victor Estrella Burgos and Marsel Ilhan in the first two rounds of Antalya in 2017 before falling to Yuichi Sugita.

The German had an impressive run on the clay prior to Roland Garros, making the semi-finals of the Challengers in Cordenons and Aix en Provence. He managed to get a win over 61st ranked Pablo Cuevas and Wawrinka’s Rome conquerer Lorenzo Musetti during these tournaments, giving him the boost he needed heading into Paris.

His Challenger circuit success when the tour returned after the Corona Virus suspension gave him the match wins and confidence he needed by the time he arrived for the qualifying event here. He produced three impressive wins over Tallon Griekspoor, Hiroki Moriya, and Ruben Bemelmans before his main draw run began.

Some fans who have been listening out may have noticed the German man shouting ‘Allez!’ this week during his matches. Altmaier counts three-time Major winner Wawrinka as his idol and has attributed the French celebration to Stan the Man.

Like his idol, he has a beautiful one-handed backhand that he has unleashed on his opponents on his way to the second week in Paris.

He even sent his idol Wawrinka a Whatsapp message following his loss to Gaston in the third round, saying he will always be a legend despite the tough five set loss.

Lower rankings, big wins

Altmaier joins a group of other lower ranked qualifiers and wild cards who have been making waves at this tournament. Yesterday, French wildcard Hugo Gaston shocked former champion Stan Wawrinka, beating him 6-0 in the fifth set to make the second week here.

Another wildcard, Clara Burel, has impressed at Roland Garros this year with wins over Arantxa Rus and Kaja Juvan. The Frenchwoman lost in a close battle to Zhang Shuai 6-7(2) 5-7 today but was another lower ranked player to have success in the first week.

Qualifiers have also made a statement in the women’s draw. Italian Martina Trevisan has made an equally impressive run to the second week here, beating Camila Giorgi, Coco Gauff, and 20th seed Maria Sakkari on her way to the round of 16.

Nadia Podoroska, another qualifier, has a win over 23rd seed Putintseva under her belt in her impressive run so far. The Argentine has also made it into the second week of a Major for the first time.

Daniel Altmaier will hope to build on his successful first week of straight set wins when he faces recent US Open semi finalist Pablo Carreno Busta on Monday. Although it’s a tough draw, the qualifier has already proven he can beat some of the best this week.

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