ATP

Queen's crown for Berrettini as Italian lays down Wimbledon marker

By Sports Desk June 20, 2021

Matteo Berrettini became the first Queen's Club Championships debutant to carry off the singles trophy since Boris Becker, as the Italian landed the biggest title of his career.

The world number nine beat British hope Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in the London showpiece match on Sunday, setting himself up ideally ahead of a Wimbledon mission later this month.

Whereas Becker was 17 when he triumphed at Queen's Club in 1985, going on to be champion at Wimbledon just weeks later, Berrettini is 25 years old and established as a leading player.

His big serve – an aspect of his game he shares with vintage Becker – proved a huge asset against Norrie as Berrettini served 19 aces and won 91 per cent of points when landing his first delivery.

Norrie could not forge a break point but did commendably well to force a deciding set in a match that lasted three minutes short of two hours.

Berrettini said he had experienced an "unbelievable week", lifting his first title at ATP 500 level, and he was blown away by the Becker link.

"If I think about his name and my name, it's crazy," he said in an on-court interview.

"I was dreaming about playing this tournament. I was watching when I was a kid and now I had the chance to lift the trophy. It's a dream come true."

Berrettini could be a threat to anyone if his serve fires at Wimbledon, and he was proud of how he fended off Norrie.

"I didn't check the numbers during the match. I knew I was serving well," said Berrettini. "I knew it was important because in the rallies this guy is dangerous. I knew I had to play my best tennis."

Berrettini said his celebrations were likely to be muted, given he is in a pre-Wimbledon bubble, predicting his team would limit his post-match treats to "probably room service and sparkling water".

There would be cause for greater cheer if Berrettini goes on a run at the All England Club, with Wimbledon due to begin on June 28. His previous best performance at Wimbledon was a run to the fourth round two years ago.

Berrettini told Amazon Prime: "I know it's going to be a really tough tournament.

"Probably all the players have extra motivation to play well there so it's going to be tough, but I have a lot of confidence."

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