Berrettini Is King Of The Queen’s Club, Wins London Title

Matteo Berrettini (photo: @QueensTennis/Twitter)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, June 20, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Cameron Norrie arrived at The Queen’s Club for Sunday’s cinch Championships final bidding to become the second British champion since World War II when he met World No. 9 Matteo Berrettini.

However, the personable Italian from Rome had other plans.

The top seed Berrettini capped a successful London debut with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory over the No. 41 Norrie in an hour and 57 minutes to become the first player to win his Queen’s Club debut since 17-year-old Boris Becker in 1985.

During the trophy ceremony, Berrettini was asked if it’s the biggest trophy he’s ever held aloft. The new champion laughed at the question, then said: “For sure. I have to say – sorry for the others – it’s the nicest one!”

Berrettini dropped just one set en route to winning his second ATP Tour title this year to go with the one he won earlier in the season on clay in Belgrade back in April. It was also his second career grass-court title complementing his MercedesCup crown won at Stuttgart in 2019 and fifth ATP Tour title overall. Berrettini improved his 2021 win-loss record to 26-6, and he’s 17-5 lifetime on grass.

“Unbelievable week,” Berrettini said. “If I think about [Boris’] name and my name, it’s crazy. I was dreaming about playing this tournament. I was watching [it] when I was a kid. Now, I had the chance to lift the trophy. So, it’s a dream come true.”

With spectator capacity limited to 2,000 fans – 25 percent of the normal level – and playing under cloudy skies, the two finalists in their first head-to-head meeting settled in for a tough battle. With very little margin for error, it was Berrettini who broke to go ahead first at 3-2 in the opening set. He consolidated the service break and leveraged his advantage to capture the set 6-4. Then, at 6-5 in the second set, Berretti’s 14th service ace lifted him to a tie break. However, Norrie on his third set-point opportunity won the tie break 7-5 after Berrettini ended a 10-shot rally by hitting a long return. Later, on serve at 4-3 the final set, Berrettini broke Norrie, again, to go ahead for good. Soon, he served out the championship out at love and won on his first match-point opportunity.

Berrettini finished with 19 aces and won 91 percent (58 of 64) of his first-serve points. He faced no break points and broke Norrie twice in six opportunities. Berrettini outpointed Norrie 92-80.

“All credit to Matteo … a great week for you,” Norrie said in accepting the runner up trophy. “Just too good today. He was better than me on the big points.

“It was a great week and I really enjoyed my tennis.”

Berrettini, 25, beat Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Dan Evans and also No. 4 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia in the semifinals. He’s the first Italian to win the cinch Championships title.

In complimenting the 25-year-old Norrie, who was appearing in his fourth ATP Tour-level final and third of the season, Berrettini said: “He’s a great player. We never played each other. I think this year, he’s shown he can play on all of the surfaces. He’s made finals; he’s playing great tennis. I’m sure he’s going to lift a lot of trophies really soon and have a great career.”

Looking back, Berrettini said: “I stepped in and knew I had to play my best tennis and we played a great final.”

Herbert and Mahut win third Queen’s Club title

A week after winning their second French Open doubles title, France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won their third cinch Championships doubles title with their 6-4, 7-5 victory over Reilly Opelka of the United States and John Peers of Australia Sunday evening.

Herbert and Mahut previously won titles at The Queen’s Club in 2015 and 2016. Against Opelka and Peers, the French duo served four aces, won 79 percent of their first-serve points, saved four of five break points they faced and outpointed their opponents 62-56 during the 78-minute title match The victory improved their season-long win-loss record to 25-7.

“Mahut is the older one of the team, so he was taking care at the end, serving aces when we were down two break points,” Herbert said during the trophy ceremony. “We only got three hours of practice time on the grass before the first match, but we missed the grass last season, so being back here playing on the grass is joyful.”

According to Mahut: “It was something special to win [Roland Garros] in our hometown with our family last week. It is good to come here now on grass, and we didn’t expect anything, but we are now here with the trophy. It has been an amazing three weeks.”