“I didn’t want to lose. I fought and I’m happy I won. But congratulations to Kudla, he deserved him too.” Matteo Berrettini is honest with himself, and his opponent, after taking home his fifth consecutive victory on grass, which after the title in Stuttgart earned him the quarter-finals at Queen’s where he is outgoing champion. The comeback success against the American Denis Kudla, n.82 Atp, however, also has the pleasant taste of those conquered at the end of a day that is anything but brilliant from a physical point of view, with legs and the first service that long they struggled to mesh, as evidenced by the score of 3-6, 7-6, 6-.

The 26-year-old Roman, n.10 in the ranking and second favorite in the seeding, after two hours and three quarters managed to get the better of the American, fished out as a lucky loser in place of the British Andy Murray and who last Tuesday defeated Lorenzo Sonego , making a possible blue derby fade. The tournaments in the elegant London club are becoming a second home for Berrettini, as he himself confessed hotly: “I like playing on grass and I think my tennis fits pretty well. And I like playing in this club that is beautiful, and the support of the public is something that is always very pleasant “. In sight there is the challenge with another American, Tommy Paul, n.35 in the ranking, who prevailed in the only precedent, dating back to last February, but only for the retirement of the Italian coached by Vincenzo Santopadre who since then managed to playing only two and a half rounds in Miami before stopping for the right hand surgery.

The return to Stuttgart was marked by continuous improvements but some fluctuating performance still needs to be taken into account, as in today’s first set. Berrettini had to cancel a ball-break already in the second game, with an ace, then he canceled another in the sixth but in the eighth a series of errors gave the game to Kudla who took the set 6-3 . Once the second game was brought to the tie break, the Roman immediately took the lead, quickly reaching 7-5. At the change of pitch there was a shiver, with the Roman who turned to the physiotherapist for a discomfort in his right hand, which was quickly resolved. The set saw some wasted opportunity for him to close, reaching the decisive 6-4. Berrettini finished with two points less than his opponent but with very good service percentages, improved from the second set onwards: 22 aces (against 3 double fouls), 64% of first in the field with which he obtained 76% of the points and seven out of nine saved breakpoints.