Matteo Berrettini won a generational all-Italian battle on Tuesday, beating Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
The first time these two Italian stars met was four years ago at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Berrettini was 21 years old and No. 249 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and he managed just four games. Berrettini is now the No. 1 Italian and he reenforced his status with an 82-minute victory at the Caja Magica. He has now won five consecutive matches including his title run in Belgrade.
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“I’m pretty happy for my physical shape, for my mental performance so far, and the way I came back after a big injury. I think I’m playing good. I’m really feeling confident,” Berrettini said. “These conditions I think are good for my tennis. It’s tough to build the momentum in these conditions and it was tougher for me because I got injured, but I’m trying really hard. The results so far are pretty good.”
The eighth seed will next play Estoril champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas or Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis. Earlier in the day, Ramos-Vinolas beat Taylor Fritz7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to reach the second round.
Fognini hit one more winner than Berrettini in the match, 17-16. But the World No. 10 dominated with his serve, winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points to avoid facing a break point in the match. Berrettini closed out the match without difficulty, holding to love in his final service game with a forehand drop shot.
“I really put a lot of effort and energy, I really try to focus a lot in order to serve like this. It’s not something that is coming really easily,” Berrettini said. “When it’s working like it was working today, I feel confident, but at the same time I ask myself to not get [drop my attention], because just one game can change the whole match.
That’s what I try to do, but I guess today [it] worked pretty well.”
Did You Know?
Berrettini and Fognini helped lead Team Italy to the final of the ATP Cup earlier this year. At that event, Berrettini earned Top 15 victories against Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut.