Matteo Berrettini to face Carlos Alcaraz for semifinal spot at Rio

(Tennis news) The rain delayed fourth round matches set up an exciting quarter final clash at the Rio Open. Matteo Berrettini was tested by Thiago Monteiro and the weather as a six hour rain delay further pushed up the proceedings. Berrettini was using forehand to the maximum as it looked deployable in all rallies, a cross forehand gave him the first break of the match which was more than enough to take the opening set. 


In the second set, the Brazilian began using his forehand which was not as fast but was placed well and the world number 6 is not known for his speed around the court. The 27 year old took a 4-1 lead but lost his flair with the strokes and the Italian paced himself to take it to the tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, Berrettini was clearly the better player as he reached matchpoint with a decisive forehand dropshot which made the wildcard miss his footing, in the next a scathing forehand attack implied the match like the rain will continue for some more time. 


After saving match points in the second set, Monteiro was given a chance in the decider as the rain again halted play in the 8th game when he was facing breakpoint. After a few hours, the players were back on the court and the crowd was hoping for their players to replenish their energy during the break. It only seemed to have made the right hander stronger as he served well and picked up 3 match points in the 9th game in which one point was saved with a brave forehand pass by the world number 106. The 25 year old hit a few punishing forehands which made Monteiro move out of the court and then a sudden forehand dropshot to end a well set up rally and enter the quarterfinals. Berrettini defeated Monteiro 6-4, 6-7(6-8), 6-3.


Carlos Alcaraz had only played 3 matches before coming to Rio but has a deep attachment with clay. Alcaraz was facing Federico Delbonis for the first time who had played 10 matches before coming to the event and had reached the semifinals at Buenos Aires. The Spaniard did not make any hasty decisions on the first set as he did not commit many unforced errors. The thought of the match being delayed for almost 48 hours might have hit Delbonis as he tried to speed up the match at the start which caused the break and even though his tactics changed it did not affect the teenager.


In the second set, the Argentine took no chances as he successfully attacked the world number 29 for a 4-2 lead. The forehand errors especially the ones from the baseline, the half volleys kept going out for the 31 year old. In the tie break, Alcaraz’s aura was too powerful as he had 5 match points in hand and needed just one to finally end the round of 16 match. Alcaraz defeated Delbonis 6-4, 7-6(7-1). 


On his third meeting with Berrettini, Alcaraz added: "Everyone knows the level of Matteo. I lifted myself in Melbourne, but I think on clay it's going to be a little bit different. His serve is not going to be as dangerous as on hard court. But I'm really excited to play against him. We've played great battles." The pair has met twice in hardcourts, both have shared victories and this will be their first meeting on clay.


Also read: Francisco Cerundolo continues winning run on clay at the Rio Open


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