Matteo Berrettini blanked Aslan Karatsev in the final set breaker to collect his fourth career title in Belgrade, beating the Russian 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(0). And it was an extra special win with his parents in the crowd.
“It was something that I really wanted to happen, because my dad came once in Munich when I lost the final. And my mom has never come for a final,” Berrettini said after his first final since 2019 Stuttgart. “So I was like, okay this is the right moment. And I think with a match like this it’s going to stick in our minds forever. It’s something special.
“I remember this same kind of match, 7-6 in the third, in the finals of an Under-16 in Germany. And it’s crazy, because in the end it’s the same feeling. I was a kid and now I’m a pro, but it’s the same feeling. They [have] supported me since the day I was born, so it’s a great honour to bring them to these kinds of stages.”
After playing almost 3.5 hours yesterday in a stunning win over Novak Djokovic, Karatsev found energy in the second set after the Italian dominated the opener.
Berrettini drew the first break in the decider but Karatsev fought right back, then later swatted away a match point to force the breaker.
“I respect [Aslan] a lot,” Berrettini said. “I have practiced with him once and I know that he can play great tennis. I think he did a great match today.
“The mental part was that he deserved to be in the final, but I deserved it as well. In the end when you’re in a final, it’s who wants it more. Yes, you have to play good tennis, you have to be tough. But at the end of the day the Rankings don’t count, the Race doesn’t count. It’s just who wants it more or who is more ready, and I guess today I was better than him.”
Berrettini was playing just his second event following injuring his ab in Melbourne.
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