History looks set to be repeating itself this summer as Matteo Berrettini has retained his Queen’s title ahead of another promising Wimbledon campaign.
The world No. 11 defeated Serbian Filip Krajinovic in straight sets on Sunday 7-5, 6-4 as he began to follow in his own footsteps from last summer. The Italian went all the way to the final in 2021 for the first time in his career across any Grand Slam tournament. Unfortunately he was beaten by Novak Djokovic over four sets on Centre Court, denying a fairytale summer for him and his nation after the men’s football team won Euro 2020 and sprinter Lamont Jacobs plundered 100m gold at the Tokyo Games.
Berrettini’s latest success in Kensington is certainly impressive. In recent months, while his rivals were keeping themselves busy throughout the clay court season, he was having surgery on a finger, patiently waiting for his return to action and it has definitely paid off. With the pressures of returning to Queen’s as the reigning champion and coming back from injury, Berrettini has made it look easy with his sublime performances back on the grass.
Just like last year, he has marked himself as a top contender for Wimbledon after showing excellent form in W14. He has joined a prestigious list of players who have been able to retain the title in the past including Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe - all of whom spent time as a world No. 1.
The 26-year-old’s absence from the clay season seems to have had no impact on his form as he has now won two titles back-to-back, having won in Stuttgart before Queen’s, where he defeated Murray in the final. He is now on a nine-match winning streak and his confidence will be growing ahead of a return to SW19 where he will be hoping and thinking he can go one step further than he did last year.
The grass is greener in his eyes in terms of his favourite playing surface but Berrettini is definitely an all-court player and always appears well adapted to wherever he plays. Both his service and forehand are a danger in any setting and his rivals will not want to be facing him early at Wimbledon later this month.
He will be back with a mission to emerge as the champion this time around and he is going to be more equipped to go all the way than he was previously. Obviously, his journey to the final in 2021 was incredible but he was inexperienced and had only progressed as far as the fourth round in his career.
Now he’s got a major final under his belt along with a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open earlier this year, which will have him better prepared for another crack at the Wimbledon title this year. And with those two consecutive titles he has won in the build-up, he looks set to have the perfect concoction of form and experience to give him his best chance of securing a first ever Grand Slam title.
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