Matteo Berrettini Comes Back After a Set Down to Defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/11/2021, 9:09 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 8, 2021 Italy’s Matteo Berrettini reacts during his semi final match against Norway’s Casper Ruud REUTERS/Sergio Perez


Madrid Open 2021 runner-up and World No.9 Matteo Berrettini won in three sets against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of Italian Open 2021. The home favorite played a close match, which lasted over two hours. The scorecard read – 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Matteo Berrettini caught by Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first set at the Italian Open 2021

Berrettini was being dominated early on. The Italian had played very well in Madrid and nearly had the title against Alexander Zverev in the final. But coming to his home tournament, Berrettini was shaky as Basilashvili took the first break of the match to lead 2-1.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Matteo Berrettini in action during his first round match against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Up until trailing at 3-2, Berrettini was still finding his feet in the match. Leading at 3-2, Basilashvili missed a few first serves, which later proved costly as the Italian won the break back to level the set. But Basilashvili had other ideas and gained superiority over the forehand side. He broke Berrettini the very next game and later had a love hold to lead the opening set 5-3.

Basilashvili waited for his serve to win the set. And with another love hold, he won the opening set, 6-3.

Berrettini’s comeback set

Berrettini changed his tactics a bit and tried to make the rallies slower. He incorporated more slices and drop shots in the second set. This nearly gave him the early break in the second set at 1-0. Basilashvili’s forehand was flying, and it instantly finished the rallies. But as the Italian dropped slices onto Basilashvili’s backhand, he was able to break him and take a 3-1 lead.

The next game, Basilashvili tried hitting a lot more inside-out forehands against Berrettini’s low slices. He troubled Berrettini at 3-1, where the Italian had an 8-minute service hold to deny Basilashvili. From here on Berrettini was in cruise control, racking up aces and strong service games. From 4-2, the Italian won 8 of the next ten points to break Basilashvili again and take the second set – 6-2.

An all-round effort in the final set from Matteo Berrettini

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Berrettini’s serve had reached a new level in the last set. It was becoming impenetrable. His first serves were fast, over 130 mph. He won 11 points in a row on his serve to take a 3-2 lead in the set. From the other end, Basilashvili wasn’t slacking either. By 3-3, Basilashvili had won 12 out of the 14 points on his serve.

But at 3-3, Berrettini’s first serve dropped a couple of times. And hence Basilashvili targeted his second serve and was partially successful. He got three breakpoints, but Berrettini’s serve saved them all. The Italian either produced an ace or a pinpoint serve that often bailed him out. Basilashvili was gutted to miss the opportunities as he served trailing at 4-3.

Serving at 4-4, Berrettini wasn’t hesitant and easily won his service game to put Basilashvili in a tight spot. At 5-4, Basilashvili was leading 30-0 on his serve, but succumbed under pressure. Berrettini was hitting consecutive flat forehands, which caught Basilashvili by surprise. From 30-0 down, Berrettini came back to win the next four points and win the final set, 6-4.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT