Australian Open: Berrettini makes Italian tennis history to set up Monfils clash

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

Matteo Berrettini made Italian tennis history on Sunday as he blasted his way past Pablo Carreno Busta and into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The seventh seed won 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a gruelling contest to set up a last-eight clash with Gael Monfils, who earlier beat Miomir Kecmanovic.

Berrettini is the first men's player from his country to reach the quarter-final stage of all four grand slams in the singles draw, and only the 10th active player to achieve the feat.

The 25-year-old only reached this stage of a major for the first time in 2019 and has since gone as far as the final in Wimbledon last year, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

Having withdrawn from his round-of-16 match with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne in 2021 due to an abdominal injury, Berrettini was delighted to have progressed.

"It was really tough last year. I really wanted to play, but I couldn't with the tear in the ab," he said.

"But I believe there is a reason for everything that happens and I've been wishing to come back as soon as possible and the way I won today shows how much I care about this tournament."

Berrettini had luck on his side in the first set as two netcords on Carreno Busta's serve allowed him to break for a 6-5 lead.

Once ahead in the match, his serve and baseline power became too much for the Spaniard: Berrettini rained down 28 aces, winning 87 per cent of points behind his first serve, and hit 57 winners.

"I was really precise with my serving and he wasn't reading my serve, which is why I hit a lot of aces," he said.

Next up is a meeting with Monfils, who has now reached 10 slam quarter-finals in his career and a first in Australia in six years.

These two met at the same stage of the 2019 US Open, Berrettini prevailing in five sets after losing the first two. The winner could face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

"It's been a long journey for me and I'm quite happy, but it's not finished," said Monfils. "I will try to play this quarter-final not like the last time. I will try to be better.

"It's an achievement but we're not quite finished yet."

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