Berrettini regroups to down Murray in US Open third round
Matteo Berrettini registered a 6-4, 6-4 6-7(1), 6-3 win over Andy Murray in US Open third round.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italian Matteo Berrettini regrouped from a series of squandered chances in the third set to brush aside Britain s Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4 6-7(1), 6-3 on Friday, harnessing his powerful forehand to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
Playing in the third round in New York for the first time in six years, Murray appeared utterly outmatched as Berrettini rocketed across nine aces and 19 winners in the first set and extinguished the Briton s sole break point opportunity.
The situation went from bad to worse for the 2012 champion in the second set, when a dejected Murray tossed his racket towards his bench after handing 13th seed Berrettini the break with a double fault in the ninth game.
But the tables turned as the 26-year-old Italian was unable to convert any of eight break point chances in the third set and handed his 35-year-old opponent the momentum in the tiebreak with a handful of unforced errors.
Berrettini, who beat Murray in the Stuttgart final earlier this year, said he tried to play more "brave" in the final set, getting the critical break in the eighth game after forcing the twice Wimbledon winner into a backhand error.
"I guess you learn from the past a little bit," said Berrettini, who clinched the contest with an ace to cheers from the rowdy crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I wasn t aggressive enough on the break points," he added.
The world number 14 faces Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina, who beat him in Monte Carlo last year, in the next round.
MURRAY ENCOURAGED DESPITE LOSS
Britain s Andy Murray said he was encouraged after taking a set off Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3 defeat on Friday after competing in the U.S. Open third round for the first time since 2016.
The 35-year-old twice Wimbledon champion saved eight break points in the third to keep the contest alive on the same court where he collected his maiden major title a decade ago.
While he could not hold off his 26-year-old opponent s offensive onslaught in the fourth, the performance nonetheless gave him hope after hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019.
"I ve got a metal hip. It s not easy playing with that. It s really difficult. I m surprised I m still able to compete with guys that are right up at the top of the game," he told reporters.
"Matches like this, you know, I m really proud that I have worked myself into a position where I m able to do that ... it s been a difficult six years for me. It s been really hard."
Murray produced impressive wins over Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and Australian Nick Kyrgios in June s Stuttgart tournament but suffered an abdominal injury when he lost in the final to Berrettini.
The performance put him back in the top 50 for the first time in roughly four years - though he was ranked 51st in the world headed into Flushing Meadows - an improvement he said helped motivate him.
"Lots of people told me I wouldn t be able to play again, and lots of people told me I d be able to hit tennis balls but not compete professionally again," said Murray.
"That was nonsense, and I want to see how close I can get back to the top of the game."