Berrettini Edges Alcaraz In 5-Set Thriller

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2022

Italian powerhouse Matteo Berrettini withstood a spirited comeback from Carlos Alcaraz and a heavy fall in the final set to claw his way into the fourth round of the Australian Open Friday.

The World No. 7 squandered a two-sets lead and rolled his right ankle in the second game of the fifth set before pulling off a courageous 6-2, 7-6(3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(10-5) win on Rod Laver Arena.

Reflecting on almost letting slip his two-sets lead, Berrettini said, “I felt confident, and that momentum was on my side in the third set but then I got broken. My energy wasn’t right in the fourth set and in the fifth I just started to think about fighting for every point. In every match something happens [like the ankle injury] but I fought through it.”

Avenging a third-set tie-break loss to the 18-year-old Spaniard in Vienna last year, Berrettini produced a serving masterclass early in the match that didn’t allow Alcaraz to work his way into the first two sets.

But Alcaraz struck back in third and fourth sets when he put 100 per cent of Berrettini’s second serves back into play.

Berrettini badly rolled his right ankle in the second game of the fifth set but after receiving treatment from the physio his movement did not appear to be significantly compromised.

After hitting long a swinging forehand volley – that he could have let bounce – Alcaraz was forced to stave off a match point at 5-6, 30/40, when, to his relief, Berrettini dumped a routine forehand second-serve return into the middle of the net.

Little separated the players in a tense decider, which came down to a first-to-10 tie-break, but four miscued forehands cost Alcaraz dearly, with Berrettini advancing after four hours and 10 minutes.

Berrettini was glowing in his praise of Alcaraz’s game and fight in his on-court interview. “At his age I didn’t have an ATP point and he will only improve,” Berrettini said. “He showed everyone his potential today.”

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