ATP Madrid: Matteo Berrettini overpowers Casper Ruud for first Masters 1000 final

Struggling with injuries, Matteo Berrettini couldn’t make progress through the ATP ranking list in 2020, working hard on a comeback and playing on a high level so far in 2021. The Italian has won 16 out of 19 matches this year, including four Caja Magica triumphs that propelled him into the first Masters 1000 final! In Miami, Jannik Sinner played in the first Masters 1000 final, with another Italian following his path at the Madrid Open thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 win over the Norwegian Casper Ruud in an hour and 21 minutes. Matteo lost eight points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point, keeping the pressure on the other side and dictating the pace with his serve, forehand and rock-solid backhand. Ruud beat Berrettini at Roland Garros 2019 and Rome last year, with the Italian changing that in Madrid thanks to a superb combo of offensive tennis and great defense.

Matteo hit 24 winners and 15 unforced errors, reducing Casper to under ten winners and hitting a service winner in 30% of the points behind the initial shot to dominate the shortest rallies up to four strokes. The Norwegian couldn’t forge the advantage in the most extended exchanges, finishing his campaign in the third straight clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final.

Matteo Berrettini will face Alexander Zverev for the Madrid Open title.

Casper held at 15 in the first game thanks to a service winner and reached deuce on the return in the next one before Matteo closed it to get his name on the scoreboard. Both players served great in the next six games, dropping only seven points and reaching 4-4 in half an hour. Serving in game nine, Ruud squandered three game points and got broken after Berrettini’s powerful forehands that drew the rival’s error. Matteo closed the opener with three winners at 5-4, looking good so far and hoping for more of the same in set number two.

Carried by this momentum, the Italian barely lost a point behind the initial shot in set number two, waiting for a chance on the return patiently. Casper stayed neck and neck with an inspired rival in the opening six games before Matteo hammered another forehand winner at 3-3 that sent him in front. The better-ranked player brought the eighth game home with a forehand winner and created a match point on the return a few minutes later. Casper saved it with a service winner to prolong the battle before Matteo moved over the top with an unreturned serve at 5-4 for his career-best result at the Masters 1000 series.

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