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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday June 19, 2021

 
Matteo Berrettni

Matteo Berrettini pushed past Alex de Minaur to reach the Queen's final without the loss of a set.

Photo Source: Getty

Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian to reach the Queen’s final in over 20 years on Saturday, as he continued his run of fine form that saw him reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and hit the ground running on the grass.

Tennis Express

The 25-year-old World No.9 has now won 16 of his last 19 on the grass (17-5 lifetime) after he toppled Australia’s Alex de Minaur, 6-4 6-4, on Saturday.

The Italian has not dropped a set at Queen’s, and he has not dropped serve in any of his last three matches – victories over Andy Murray, Dan Evans and De Minaur.

Berrettini will face red-hot Cameron Norrie in the final. The Brit engineered an impressive takedown of Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3 to book his third final of 2021.


Norrie, currently 41 in the rankings, is now second on tour in wins in 2021, with a record of 29-12.

He was like a human backboard against Shapovalov on Saturday, in slower playing conditions due to the damp air.

“I am a little bit surprised to be here in the final of Queen's, obviously looking at the draw with such big names in the draw and such top-ranked players, so it's definitely a surprise,” he said.

Norrie entered the week with a 5-9 lifetime record on grass, and he says his attitude and his movement have helped him pick things up.


“I think I always believed I could play well on the grass,” he said. “I just, I think, yeah, I didn't embrace it as much as I could have in previous years. I think the biggest thing is my serve has improved a lot and my movement. I thought today I moved very well and defended the court well and defended the forehand better than usual for me, so I think the movement has been a big factor in that.”

Berrettini is more of a natural on the grass. He has presented problems for his opponent on many levels. His massive serve, which tops out in the 140’s, gets a lot of mention, but the Italian can do so much destruction with his forehand behind that shot—he’s able to take the forehand inside-out, inside-in and crosscourtand he is very accurate with it.

On Saturday his backhand was also a weapon, making him nearly unbeatable. He’ll be tested from the baseline by Norrie, who rarely misses the mark.

Berrettini will bid for his fifth ATP title, and his second on grass. Norrie has yet to hoist a trophy on tour, but he has been knocking on the door. He will play his fourth ATP final, and his third of 2021.

 

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