Matteo Berrettini was on the verge of a routine win against #NextGenATP Finn Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round of the Western & Southern Open. But instead, he needed to battle for two hours and 41 minutes on Monday evening to eliminate the 21-year-old qualifier 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5.
“It was really tough because I thought the match was over,” Berrettini said. “I hit an ace, and I didn’t even hear the let on match point. I was telling myself, ‘You know this sport, it’s like that. A few balls and everything can change.'”
Berrettini Blooms Through Zoom: Coaches’ Corner
The sixth seed was centimetres away from closing out Ruusuvuori at 6-4, 5-4 ,40/30. The Italian crushed what appeared to be an ace out wide, but it was a let. The Finn, who won his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw match in the opening round against American qualifier Sebastian Korda, significantly raised his level from there, showing his promise.
“I have to say since that moment Emil started to play better and better and he started to serve really good. I was struggling on my return games,” Berrettini said. “Then it was a fight. I think I was really good mentally to be there after all the chances that I had, especially in the first two sets and also after 5-4, all those match points. I’m really happy with my mental performance.”
Berrettini was unable to convert four more match points with Ruusuvuori serving at 4-5 in the decider. But in his next return game, he broke for the third time to seal the match. Berrettini will next play big-serving American Reilly Opelka, who upset ninth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6(4) earlier in the day.