Top seed Matteo Berrettini aced a big test from former champion Andy Murray at The Queen’s Club, fighting through 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday to move into the quarter-finals at the cinch Championships.
The Italian impressed throughout the clay-court season after winning his fourth ATP Tour title at the Serbia Open (d. Karatsev) and reaching the final at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Zverev). He has been seamless in his first grass-court event of the year, reaching the last eight without dropping a set in his Queen’s Club debut.
“This was really hard. We all know who Andy is, he is a great player and he was always there even until the last point,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy for my performance.
“I know how tough it is to come back from an injury, so I wish him the best of luck. I think he played great today. I played better. I am just happy that he is back.”
Murray previously lifted the trophy in London in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015-16, and was back in action with a wild card into his first tour-level event since March. He was seeking his seventh quarter-final at this event, and his first since winning the 2016 title.
Berrettini will take on another Brit in the next round after Daniel Evans fought past Adrian Mannarino to reach his own first quarter-final at The Queen’s Club.
The Italian’s big serve took centre stage against Murray as he saved all three break points he faced across an hour and 25 minutes. Berrettini struck 28 winners and only seven unforced errors in the match – 14 of those were aces, and 10 came in a first serve that he dominated. In the opener, he fired a 143 mph first serve, the fastest of the tournament so far.
Berrettini kept Murray contained to just one winner as he broke serve twice to take the opening set. In the second, he took an early break for a 3-0 lead and never looked back, closing out the victory to advance.
“I have worked really hard [on my serve] in my career since I was a kid,” Berrettini said. “I grew up on clay, so I was serving more kick [serves]. But then we figured out that I had to hit hard like this. Today it worked really well.”
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Earlier in the day, sixth seed Evans added his name to the Queen’s Club tournament history books as he joined Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals. His victory marked the first time that Britain has had three or more singles players in the quarter-finals at The Queen’s Club in the Open Era.
But Evans was made to work against Mannarino, and had to save a set point in a decisive moment late in the second set. He passed the test with flying colours to win 6-4, 7-6(7). Evans won 81 per cent (34/42) of his first serve points, and saved five of the six break points he faced across an hour and 43 minutes.
“I’m just pleased to come through. I knew that he was good on grass, I knew that it was going to be a difficult match, but I didn’t envision it being that tight and obviously I didn’t want it that tight either,” Evans said. “It was a tough match, mentally more than anything, trying to hold my nerve when I was down a set point.”
Did You Know?
The last time three British players featured in an ATP Tour quarter-final was back in 1999 Nottingham, when Tim Henman, Mark Petchey and Greg Rusedski advanced to the last eight.