Matteo Berrettini sinks Gael Monfils in a thriller to reach the US Open semifinals
NEW YORK: great Italian service Matteo Berrettini took another step in his decisive season when he beat the French Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) at the US Open on Wednesday to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal in his career.
Leaving aside the 13th-seeded Frenchman, he took everything Berrettini had when Monfils, who fought mightily with his service at the end of the game, managed to eliminate four pressure-filled match points until the Italian finally prevailed.
At this moment I don't remember any point. Only the match point, Berrettini said on the court. While playing, I thought, this is one of the best games I've seen. I was playing, but I was also watching.
Berrettini used booming services and right-blows to overwhelm Monfils, who struggled with wet conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium until shortly after the roof closed during the third set and brought cooler temperatures.
In the decisive, Berrettini broke twice with a 4-2 lead, but Monfils rejuvenated, who despite having doubled over exhaustion after many points, dug deeply and ran around the court to fight three match points for force a final tiebreaker.
But Monfils ran out of tricks and it was Berrettini who relied on his powerful service to prevail and become the fourth Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in the Open Era.
Monfils was very efficient in the first set and had an early 2-0 lead in the second, but Berrettini took over and broke the tired Frenchman twice before finally knocking down an ace to seal a hold on the love that leveled the game in 1-1.
Berrettini, the 24th seed, broke twice for a 5-2 lead and served out the third set, which was interrupted for about five minutes when rain forced the closure of the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof.
That brought more comfortable playing conditions and gave a boost to Monfils, who during a previous change had poured cold water on his head.
Monfils, with his back firmly against the wall to start the room, suddenly seemed full of energy and bounced on his feet between the points when he had a crucial break and won 88% of his first service points to force the decisive.
For Berrettini, it marked the last triumph in a season in which the 23-year-old Italian won titles in Budapest and Stuttgart on the way to a ranking of 20 in June.
The next for Berrettini, who lost here in the first round last year, will be the winner of the night game between the second Spanish seeded Rafa Nadal and the Argentine. Diego Schwartzman .