Matteo Berrettini, the top seed at this year’s Queen’s Club Championships finds himself a spot in the final on his tournament debut. The 25-year-old Italian has not dropped a set all week at London and was ruthless in his 6-4, 6-4 dominant win over the fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the semifinals.
Coming from a decent outing on clay, the hard-hitting Italian had to manoeuvre through a tricky draw and beat the likes of Andy Murray, Dan Evans, and most recently, De Minaur en route his journey to the title clash.
Impeccable serving has been the feature of Berrettini’s game this week at London as he has managed to land over 60% of his first serves consistently across all of his encounters. The fact that he has won over 80% of his first service points has made all the difference as he chases his second title of the season on Sunday.
In the upcoming final, Berrettini will lock horns against Britain’s Cameron Norrie, the southpaw who too just like the former, had a fruitful season on clay this year. The 25-year-old Brit took out the tired Denis Shapovalov in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 in just over an hour and a half in their semifinal to seal a spot in the final for the 3rd time so far this year. After the play was suspended at the end of the first set on Friday in the quarterfinal, Shapovalov had to complete the match against Frances Tiafoe earlier on Saturday before taking on Norrie in the semifinal.
After taking down the likes of Aslan Karatsev and Shapovalov in his second round and semifinal clashes respectively, the home hope would be upbeat as he faces Berrettini not only to break his jinx of losing in the finals but also to bag his maiden ATP tour title. Norrie succumbed to defeats in the finals at Auckland in 2019 and at Estoril and Lyon on clay earlier this year.
Interestingly, 41st ranked Norrie will take on the ninth ranked Berrettini for the very first time on the ATP tour and that adds a level of suspense and mystery to their upcoming contest. Against De Minaur, Berrettini was able to produce stunning groundstrokes with remarkable depths consistently and against the southpaw Norrie, the Italian will surely aim to attack his backhand wing with his brutal crosscourt forehands.
As far as Norrie is concerned, he cannot afford to go down a break, especially in the earlier stages of the set as he did in the first set against Shapovalov. In an attempt to draw weaker returns or no returns at all, the Brit can pepper Berrettini’s backhand wing with his precise serves down the ‘T’ on the deuce side of the court and that can certainly help the Brit to hold his service games comfortably against the in-form Italian.
Against Norrie in the final, Berrettini starts as a heavy favorite. After a wobbly start in his opening round encounter against Stefano Travaglia where he was stretched to tiebreaks in both the sets, the Italian has played like a top seed thereafter and would hope to continue his merry ways to bag his second title on grass. However, as the home lad, Norrie would be the crowd’s favorite and would feed on their support and cheering as he tries to lay his hands on his maiden title on the ATP Tour.
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