In his first match since Wimbledon, Matteo Berrettini had to dig deep and fight his way past Albert Ramos-Vinolas to reach the third round at the Western & Southern Open. The Italian star came from a set down to beat the Spaniard 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and 20 minutes to advance in Cincinnati. The 25-year-old had not played since the final of The Championships due to a thigh injury but showed glimpses of his ability against Ramos-Vinolas. Berrettini, who has now won 15 of his past 17 matches, is 33-7 on the season. This year’s Belgrade and Queen’s Club champion will next take on 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Karen Khachanov.
“I’m happy for the win. I think I served really well. My strokes from the baseline weren’t working the way I wanted them to, but I knew from the beginning it’s been a long time since I played a match, especially on hard, so I expected to feel a little bit weird,” Matteo Berrettini said. “But the most important thing was I was there, I fought every point, I tried to put myself in conditions where I could win the match. That’s what I’m most happy about.”
The match, which was delayed due to rain saw Berrettini in trouble against Ramos-Vinolas. The Spaniard proved to be a tricky test for the Italian in his first match in more than a month. “Ramos is a player who makes a lot of balls,” Matteo Berrettini said. “I saw the stats and I ran more than him, which is pretty weird for my game. But today that’s what I felt I had to do in order to win the match and I’m really happy that I’m going to have the chance to play another match because that’s what I need. I need to play matches. I need to get in the best shape possible.”
With Ramos-Vinolas finding his rhythm, the Italian struck 25 aces in the match to stay in the contest. His aces came in handy to escape difficult service games. After both players winning a set each, the third one was a neck-to-neck battle. At 5-5 in the decider, the Spaniard missed an inside-out forehand to lose serve. Matteo Berrettini closed out the match in the next game with a forehand drop shot.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov got his Western & Southern Open campaign underway with a comfortable victory over 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-4. On Tuesday, the 30-year-old broke Bautista-Agut three times in a rain-disrupted clash. He also won 76 per cent (26/34) of his first-service points to advance in 84 minutes.
“I am very very happy,” Dimitrov said in his on-court interview. “He is such a tough opponent, but I served really well when I had to. It was good to finish a match in straight sets, I am just appreciating the moment.”