RIO DE JANEIRO: French tennis ace Matteo Berrettini wrapped up a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 win over home favourite Thiago Monteiro after a second-set setback to secure a quarterfinal berth in the Rio Open here on Saturday (IST).
The 25-year-old Italian smashed 14 aces and won 79 per cent of of his first serves to close the rain-delayed match in two hours and 51 minutes and set up a last-eight clash against Spain's Carlos Alcaraz.
Alcaraz defeated Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-4, 7-6 earlier in the day.
"Everything was really difficult," said the world No. 6 Berrettini, who was playing his first clay-court match since the French Open. "But you have to (go through) that (rain interruptions) in order to be in this kind of position in the rankings. At these kinds of tournaments, you have to play your best tennis in the important moments. Today worked out really well, especially in the first and the third, so I'm really happy about that," Berrettini was quoted as saying by atptour.com after the match.
After a six-hour delay because if rain, the players returned with the match keenly poised. Before the rain, Berrettini won the opening set without facing a break point, but fell behind at 4-1 and 5-2 in the second to lose the set. The third set remained on serve until Berrettini's late charge.
This was top seed Berrettini's first ATP Tour action since his semifinal run at the Australian Open, where he lost to Spanish stalwart Rafael Nadal in four sets.
Following Berrettini, seventh-seeded Alcaraz finished off a 6-4, 7-6(1) win over Federico Delbonis.
"It has been a really tough day. We were waiting for a long time (for rain to stop), we didn't know if we were going to play or not," Alcaraz said post-match. "It was really tough, but I'm really happy with the level and I'm really excited to play my first quarterfinal here in Rio."
On his third meeting with Berrettini, Alcaraz said, "Everyone knows the level of Matteo. I lifted myself in Melbourne, but I think on clay it's going to be a little bit different. His serve is not going to be as dangerous as on hard court. But I'm really excited to play against him. We've played great battles." IANS