ATP

Berrettini continues Queen's charge, Rublev to face Humbert in Halle final

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Matteo Berrettini continued his impressive charge at the Queen's Club Championships as he booked a place in the final against Cameron Norrie.

Top seed Berrettini, ranked nine in the world, has not dropped a set all week.

His impressive run has seen him defeat home hopes Andy Murray and Dan Evans, with one more Briton in the shape of Norrie left to see off in his bid for glory.

Berrettini ensured he will be in the final by claiming a 6-4 6-4 triumph over fourth seed Alex de Minaur in the semi-final on Saturday.

The Italian dropped just four of his 36 points on first-serve and sent down eight aces, with De Minaur only able to force one break point in the entire contest, which he did not take.

"[Making the final] was the goal of the week and now I have one more step," said Berrettini.

"It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament. I am really happy because to beat Alex, I had to play my best tennis."

Berrettini has four tour titles to his name, though this would be his first at ATP 500 level or above.

Victory would also represent the biggest win of Norrie's career – he has lost each of his three previous finals, all at ATP 250 level.

Norrie impressively eliminated Denis Shapovalov to reach the showpiece, beating the Canadian 7-5 6-3.

Shapovalov had earlier finished off a 6-3 6-4 quarter-final win over Frances Tiafoe, a match that could not be completed on Friday due to fading light.

But the second seed could not muster up another victory against a fresher Norrie.

At the Halle Open, Andrey Rublev reached his eighth final since the start of 2020, though his first on a grass court.

Rublev dropped his first set of the week but ultimately prevailed with a 6-1 3-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Russian has won his last four finals at ATP 500 level and will seek a fifth on Sunday.

"It's my first final on grass and in Halle," he said. "I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again.

"I had good opportunities to break Basilashvili in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. 

"I then came back and stayed calm, until the last game. But I won."

Rublev will take on unseeded Ugo Humbert, who held his nerve to edge a thriller against Felix Auger-Aliassime, winning 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

Humbert beat Alexander Zverev earlier in the week and has had to win a deciding set in all four rounds, while the beaten Auger-Aliassime had previously seen off Roger Federer as part of a dramatic event.

Frenchman Humbert won each of his first two career finals, which both took place last year in ATP 250 events.

Related items

  • French Open: Swiatek joins Court, Evert and Seles on illustrious Roland Garros list French Open: Swiatek joins Court, Evert and Seles on illustrious Roland Garros list

    World number one Iga Swiatek put herself among an illustrious group of tennis greats by claiming her 17th match win at Roland Garros.

    Swiatek is the favourite for the French Open title this year, and the Pole has been in dominant form so far in Paris.

    On Saturday, she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-3 7-5 to move into round four, tallying up a 31st consecutive win in the process – only three players Justine Henin (32), Serena Williams (34) and Venus Williams (35) have recorded longer winning streaks this century.

    Swiatek won the first and only grand slam title of her career at Roland Garros in 2020, and of the 19 matches she has now played at the French Open, the 20-year-old has won 17.

    That feat ranks her just behind Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the number of wins from their first 19 matches at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

    Evert, Seles and 24-time grand slam winner Court managed 18 victories from that number of matches.

    Swiatek was beaten by Maria Sakkari at the quarter-final stage in Paris last year.

  • French Open: Swiatek made to work but tallies up 31st successive win French Open: Swiatek made to work but tallies up 31st successive win

    Iga Swiatek's quest to win a second French Open title continued as she progressed into the fourth round with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of Danka Kovinic.

    Playing early on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday, the top seed made ultimately got past the world number 95 Kovinic in straight sets, though the Montenegrin did not go down without a fight.

    Kovinic took all three break points that Swiatek offered up, with two of those coming in the second set, halting what seemed set to be a procession for the favourite.

    It has been over 100 days since Swiatek last lost a match, but the Pole temporarily lost her composure as Kovinic reeled off four straight games to go from 4-1 down to 5-4 up.

    The final game of Kovinic's streak was settled by a poor Swiatek backhand into the net as the 20-year-old saw the momentum swing the way of her opponent, who was frustrating the world number one with some sublime drop shots.

    Swiatek took a moment to recover, donning an extra layer, and responded in the next game by holding to 15, and a stray forehand from Kovinic then handed the 2020 champion a break and the chance to serve out the match.

    It was an opportunity Swiatek grasped, and though Kovinic fended off the first match point with a powerful forehand, a return straight into the net confirmed her exit.

    Swiatek will face Zheng Qinwen or Alize Cornet in round four.

    Data Slam: Swiatek closing in on Henin

    Swiatek's winning streak now stands at 31 matches, just one short of the tally reeled off by former world number one Justin Henin in 2008. Should she go all the way and triumph again at Roland Garros, then she will match the longest winning streak of this century, set by Venus Williams in 2000 (35).

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Swiatek – 13/23
    Kovinic – 13/31

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 1/0
    Kovinic – 3/4

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Swiatek – 5/10
    Kovinic – 3/3

  • 'It's hard to describe what he's done for us' – Sangakkara hails Buttler ahead of IPL final 'It's hard to describe what he's done for us' – Sangakkara hails Buttler ahead of IPL final

    Kumar Sangakkara cannot recall seeing anyone bat better than Rajasthan Royals run machine Jos Buttler in the Indian Premier League ahead of the final against Gujarat Titans.

    Buttler blasted the Royals into their first final for 14 years with a scintillating unbeaten 106 off only 60 balls to secure a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2.

    The England wicketkeeper-batter hit six sixes and 10 fours in a masterclass at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, taking his tally of centuries for the season to four.

    Buttler is only one shy of Chris Gayle's record of scoring six IPL hundreds ahead of the final in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

    The 31-year-old is the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 824 from 16 innings at an average of 58.86 and Royals director of cricket Sangakkara has never seen anything like it. 

    He said: "It's hard to describe what he has done for us this season. I think he started off so well, had a little bit of a flutter at one point in the tournament, but he calmed himself down, had good conversations rather than just training.

    "He accepted he's mortal, he's human and he can't have that high level of excellence every single day. And to understand how you kind of reach that level at every game in different stages.

    "Some days you have to fight and look ugly, other days your rhythm is there. The reality is you can't fight that condition, but fight what's happening on the day.

    "You have to settle into it and build an innings. He can accelerate at any point, has all the strokes and understands the game really well. I can't remember anyone batting this well in the history of the IPL."

    Rajasthan have not reached a final since they won the inaugural IPL in 2008, when the late Shane Warne captained them to victory.

    Gujarat topped the table in their first IPL season and beat the Royals by seven wickets in Qualifier 1 to move into the final.

    David Miller struck a rapid 68 not out in that victory and the South Africa batter says he is reaping the rewards of the Titans putting their faith in him.

    He said: "I feel like I am repeating myself. But one thing that changed this season, is that I am playing every game.

    "The last four-five years in IPL… I had a bad season in 2016 and then haven't really felt backed at all. That’s the nature of the IPL. There are so many overseas players and only four can play.

    "I had to go back and work on my game. Although I felt really good playing for the domestic teams in South Africa, I was looking to find that good nick. That's what happened this season."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.