Berrettini Bests Garin To Reach Madrid Semi-finals

Eighth seed Matteo Berrettini rallied from a set down against Cristian Garin on Friday to grab the last semi-final berth at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Coming into the Spanish capital, Berrettini was regaining his rhythm after needing a lengthy break to recover from an abdominal injury. The Italian was quickly back to his winning ways, lifting his fourth ATP Tour trophy at the Serbia Open in Belgrade.

The World No. 10 is now on a seven-match win streak after taking down the 16th seeded Garin 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 in his Manolo Santana Stadium debut, and improved to 15-3 on the season.

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“I’m really proud that I came from not an easy place mentally after my injury,” Berrettini said in his post-match press conference. “I really worked hard. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough.

“But then I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I’m strong inside.”

Berrettini will next face Norway’s Casper Ruud in the semi-finals. Before this week, neither player had played a main draw match in Madrid; now, they are fighting for a spot into their maiden ATP Masters 1000 final on Sunday.

“I think he’s a great, great player, especially on clay,” Berrettini said. “He’s been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had, like, tough matches.

Last year in Rome was really tricky match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I’m really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sports way.”

Garin came out firing against Berrettini, high on confidence after equaling the biggest win of his career against World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in the previous round (also No. 3 Zverev, 2019 Munich). His speed around the court kept Berrettini on the back foot, and Garin powered his way to early break leads in the first two sets.

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The Italian looked to be in danger after going down a set and 3-1 to Garin, but the eighth seed raised his level emphatically in the second set to level at 3-3. Garin couldn’t come up with answers for his opponent’s powerful surge as Berrettini reeled off the last 11 games in a row.

Berrettini fired his 14th ace to seal the victory after two hours and six minutes, booking a place into his second Masters 1000 semi-final and the first since Shanghai in 2019. Berrettini recorded 33 winners to Garin’s 18, and kept his unforced error count to a tidy 21 (30 for Garin).

Garin Perfect In The Clutch To Beat Verdasco In Madrid

Cristian Garin was perfect in the clutch moments on Monday evening to dismiss home favourite Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Chilean No. 1 saved all eight break points he faced and converted the three opportunities he earned to advance after one hour and 27 minutes, setting a second-round clash against German Dominik Koepfer, who ousted American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

The difference in Madrid experience could not have been greater inside Manolo Santana Stadium, as Garin was making his tournament debut and Verdasco was competing in the Spanish capital for the 18th consecutive edition (he also played in qualifying in 2002). But when it mattered most, Garin was the more comfortable player. 

The 16th seed played aggressively when he needed to. But more importantly, he gave very few free points away, forcing Verdasco to beat him. The Spaniard could not do so, as he made 32 unforced errors, more than doubling Garin’s count (15).

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One seed who was unable to move on was 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. Qualifier Federico Delbonis rallied from a set and two breaks down to defeat the Spaniard 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the last match of the day. The Argentine will next challenge Estoril champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas or American Taylor Fritz.

In other action, Marcos Giron won a marathon three-setter against Pablo Andujar, clawing past the Spaniard 6-7(8), 7-6(4), 7-5 after three hours and 26 minutes. The American had already played a match that lasted longer than three hours in the first round of qualifying against Thiago Monteiro.

Giron will have to recover quickly when he plays third seed Dominic Thiem on Tuesday evening. The 27-year-old owns one Top 10 victory, which he claimed against Matteo Berrettini at last year’s Rolex Paris Masters.

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Garin is in second seed Daniil Medvedev‘s section of the draw. If both men reach the third round, they will meet for the second time in their ATP Head2Head series. The Russian triumphed in straight sets two years ago in Montreal.

Norrie Upsets Garin To Reach Estoril Semi-finals

To kick off quarter-finals Friday at the Millennium Estoril Open, Cameron Norrie picked up his fifth Top-30 win of the season with an upset of Cristian Garin. In two hours and 28 minutes, the Brit battled past the World No. 22-ranked Chilean 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

With a clutch break of serve at 6-5 in the second set, Norrie took control of the momentum and he had a chance to close it out at 5-2 in the third set. He’d serve it out at love in the next game.

“Garin is always so tough on the clay and I think [it’s] one of my best wins ever on the clay,” Norrie said on-court. “It was a battle. He came out a bit sharper than me. I managed to play a good return game in the second set to break there and held my nerve and played some of my best tennis of the week at the 3-2, 4-2 games.”

World No. 50 Norrie has been in excellent form as Friday marked his fourth quarter-final appearance of the year. Garin, a five-time ATP champion on clay, won the crown in Santiago earlier this season. The last time the two had played each other on clay was at Roland Garros in 2013 in the junior draw (Garin won that bout).

Norrie will meet Marin Cilic in the semi-finals Saturday after the Croatian’s highly anticipated clash with Kevin Anderson ended abruptly. Clic had captured the first set 7-6(7) when the South African was forced to retire with a left adductor injury. 

Cilic entered the showdown with a 6-1 lead in their ATP Head2Head Series. Though very familiar with each other, the two former Top 5 stars hadn’t faced off since 2017 and hadn’t played a complete match since Cilic beat Anderson on his way to the 2014 US Open title.

The sixth seed just squeaked out the tie-break, saving a set point before converting on his second opportunity with a big first serve. At the changeover, Anderson, who has been dealing with injuries for more than a year, decided to retire. The two-time Grand Slam finalist is currently ranked No. 105. Heading into this week, he had played just three events this year, going 2-3.

Cilic will play his second semi-final of 2021 as he continues the pursuit for his first title since 2018.

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At the top of the ATP 250 draw, Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Corentin Moutet 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 48 minutes to reach the semi-finals. Moutet was looking to back up his biggest career win over top seed Denis Shapovalov but a disciplined Ramos-Vinolas was just too strong from start to finish.

Moutet saved three match points at 5-3 before Ramos-Vinolas converted on his fourth chance with a forehand approach-shot winner. The Spaniard improves to 48-27 against fellow left-handers.

“Today, I think it was really difficult to play with the conditions, with the wind,” Ramos-Vinolas said on court. “He [plays] special with no rhythm, changing [the pace] a lot with drop shots. A lefty also, so I think it’s always really difficult to play against him.”

The 33-year-old now leads the ATP Head2Head Series 2-1 against Moutet and will play his fourth semi-final of the year (all on clay) against the winner of Ugo Humbert and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Thursday Preview: Tsitsipas To Take On Garin In Monte-Carlo

Stefanos Tsitsipas will kick off Thursday’s third-round action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a challenging matchup against Cristian Garin

Garin just won his fifth ATP Tour title last month, in front of a home crowd at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. All five of the World No. 24’s trophies have come on clay. Tsitsipas also holds five ATP titles: one on clay and four on indoor hard courts. 

Garin opened his Monte-Carlo campaign by ousting Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, and he eased past John Millman on Wednesday. Tsitsipas had a day off after taking out Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Greek will have his work cut out for him but he has been embracing the surface switch after a quarter-final run on the hard courts of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

“I’ve practised a lot of days on clay,” the World No. 5 said. “I’ve been feeling well. My body is in good shape. Currently I feel like I’m working a lot on my physicality when I play friendly matches on clay. I think that’s going to be the most important aspect in my game during the clay-court season.”

The fourth seed beat Garin in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting last year on clay in Hamburg in three sets.

Following Tsitsipas and Garin on the main court will be Novak Djokovic taking on Daniel Evans. It’s set to be the World No 1’s first time facing off against the 30-year-old Brit, after beating another first-time opponent, Jannik Sinner, in his opening match on Wednesday.

“I think ‘solid’ is a good word to describe the performance,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I know I can always do better. I’m working towards playing even on a higher level than I did today.”

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Third seed Rafael Nadal sits on the opposite half of the draw to his Serbian rival and he will see a familiar opponent across the net in Grigor Dimitrov. The Spaniard holds a 13-1 ATP Head2Head lead against Dimitrov with three of those wins coming in Monte-Carlo. Dimitrov hasn’t won a set off of Nadal since 2017.

“He’s a good friend, a good guy, and a great player,” Nadal said. “Going to be a tough test in my second round. Going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament.”

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev will have his hands full against ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. Bautista Agut leads their ATP Head2Head career record, 3-2 and topped the Russian in Doha in straight sets earlier this year.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev and David Goffin will put on a show inside Court Des Princes, as will Fabio Fognini when he steps onto the same court against Filip Krajinovic.

Watch Live | View TV Schedule 


COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [16] C. Garin (CHI)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs D. Evans (GBR)
[14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [3] R. Nadal (ESP)
[6] A. Rublev (RUS) vs [9] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[WC] L. Pouille (FRA) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [5] A. Zverev (GER)
[15] F. Fognini (ITA) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
C. Ruud (NOR) vs [12] P. Carreno Busta (ESP)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / H. Hurkacz (POL)
[Alt] A. Behar (URU) / G. Escobar (ECU) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)
After Suitable Rest – [3] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)

New Day, New Outcome For Garin Against Auger-Aliassime

Cristian Garin trailed Felix Auger-Aliassime 2-4 when the pair’s first-round match was suspended due to rain on Monday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. When the Chilean returned to the court on Tuesday, he raised his game to march into the second round.

The five-time ATP Tour clay-court titlist claimed 11 of the 14 games played on Tuesday and capitalised on 28 forehand unforced errors from Auger-Aliassime to record a 7-6(3), 6-1 win. Garin improved his record on clay this season to 5-1, highlighted by his title run at home at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago.

“The conditions were pretty different [from] yesterday,” Garin said in his post-match interview. “Yesterday, the court was pretty humid and today it was faster. I love these conditions. It is my favourite surface… These matches help me a lot to keep looking at the things I have to improve. I am very happy to be playing here in Monte-Carlo.”

The World No. 24 has regained the lead in his ATP Head2Head series against the #NextGenATP Canadian. Garin has won two of his three matches against Auger-Aliassime, with all three encounters contested on clay.

“I didn’t expect to play Felix in the first round. He is a great player with a really great future, so I am very happy with the way I played today,” Garin said. “I hope to keep improving. Most of the tournaments that I played this year were on clay, so I had more rhythm.”

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Auger-Aliassime was making his first appearance under the guidance of new coaching team member Toni Nadal this week. The Canadian approached the Spaniard towards the end of 2020 and spent more than a week preparing for the 2021 ATP Tour season at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Mallorca. Auger-Aliassime opened the year with a run to the Murray River Open final (l. to Evans).

Garin will meet John Millman for a spot in the third round. The Aussie defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-3 to start his Monte-Carlo campaign on Monday.

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“[Millman] is a very solid player,” Garin said. “I saw his match yesterday [and] he played really well. He is a dangerous player. Every player here plays amazing.”

Singapore champion Alexei Popyrin recovered from a slow start to beat Pablo Andujar 0-6, 6-2, 7-6(3). The 21-year-old qualifier won 79 per cent of his first-serve points in the decider (15/19) to improve to 12-4 on the season.

Popyrin will meet French wild card Lucas Pouille in the second round. The former Top 10 star defeated Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 to earn his second tour-level win of the year.