Berrettini Shows All The Right Stuff in Gstaad

Matteo Berrettini (photo: Fabian Meierhans / Swiss Open Gstaad)

GSTAAD/WASHINGTON, July 23, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Matteo Berrettini showed all the right stuff to beat Dominic Thiem in their semifinal showdown at the EFG Swiss Open Saturday afternoon in Gstaad. Whether it was striking a solid ace down the middle on the first point of the match or a hitting a soft, touch-volley winner that ended matters 78 minutes later, the No. 2 seed from Italy won on point from start to finish.

The World No. 15 Berrettini ended Thiem’s run for a second Swiss Alps title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory that entertained the Roy Emerson Arena crowd and kept alive his own hopes of winning Gstaad for the second time. Berrettini moves into Sunday’s final against defending champion Casper Ruud of Norway. The World No. 5 needed just 62 minutes to defeat No. 4 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, 6-2, 6-0, in the second semifinal.

In what’s been a dominating European summer for Berrettini, which has included title runs in Stuttgart and at Queen’s Club in London after returning to the Tour following an injury to his right hand, the 26-year-old Rome native has strung together 12 straight winning efforts and reached his third consecutive ATP Tour final.

Berrettini delivered flawless tennis against Thiem that was accented with power and accuracy. He jumped out to a 5-0, double-break lead in the opening set and never let up. By the end, Berrettini hit four aces and won 85 percent of his first-serve points. His serve was broken just once – in his second-to-last service game as he served for the match – and he broke Thiem four times in six opportunities. Berrettini outpointed his Austrian opponent 61-41.

“I’m really happy with my performance,” Berrettini said in an on-court interview after beating Thiem for the fourth time. The victory improved the Italian’s win-loss record on clay this season to 4-1 after missing the European spring clay season. “I knew that I had to play my best tennis to beat him. I think my game in general was working pretty well. I was serving well, returning well. I was being aggressive. I don’t think I gave him the time to play his game and that was the key today.”

The loss ended Thiem’s best week of the 2022 season. After reaching the quarterfinals last week in Bastad, the 274th-ranked Thiem came to Gstaad, and for three rounds brought back memories of his 2015 title run. He saved a match point to beat last year’s finalist Hugo Gaston in the opening round, then delivered back-to-back straight set victories over Federico Delbonis and Juan Pablo Varillas before losing to Berrettini. The 28-year-old Thiem will leave Switzerland having moved into the Top 200 to No. 197 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, after rising 77 points.

Ruud remains undefeated in Gstaad

Meanwhile, defending champion Casper Ruud will go for his second straight Gstaad title after defeating No. 4 seed and 2019 Swiss Open champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, 6-2, 6-0, in a matchup of past champions that lasted only 62 minutes.

Ruud was aggressive from start to finish, hitting well from the baseline – especially in attacking the Spaniard’s second serve. He wasted little time on Roy Emerson Arena Saturday afternoon to beat Ramos-Vinolas for the third consecutive time after losing the first four meetings in their career head-to-head.

The victory was the seventh straight in the Swiss Alps for Ruud going back to last year’s title run.

The 23-year-old World No. 5 from Norway won 81 percent of his first-serve points and did not face any break points on his serve. He converted five of seven break-point opportunities – including three of three in the second set – and won 22 of 38 points on his return in coasting to the semifinal victory. Ruud outpointed Ramos-Vinolas 52-29.

“I needed to bring my A game today if I wanted to have a chance to beat Albert,” Ruud said in his on-court interview following his win. “Luckily. I was able to do it. I played really well all match. All the margins went my way. Albert is always a tough competitor no matter what. Of course, I’m very happy about [the win].”


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Looking ahead to facing No. 2 seed Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s final, in which both players will be chasing after their third ATP Tour title of the season, Ruud said: “Obviously, I need to return very well because he has such a great serve, and I need to serve well myself, too. That’s pretty much where, of course, all points start.

“His serve, his forehand, his weapons are dangerous in these conditions. He has good confidence from winning the title before. It’s going to be an interesting matchup.

“We both won here one time and we’re in our second final. May the best man win.”

Around the EFG Swiss Open

Unseeded Tomislav Brkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Francisco Cabral of Portugal reached Sunday’s doubles final after defeating Franko Skugor of Croatia and Fabrice Martin of France, 6-3, 6-3. Brkic and Cabral outpointed their opponents 58-42.

Brkic and Cabral will face Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Philip Oswald of Austria. The Dutch-Austria duo defeated Italians Andrea Vavassori and Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 3-6, 10-3. The winners saved six of seven break points they faced and converted their only break-point opportunity.

Saturday’s EFG Swiss Open results

Sunday’s EFG Swiss Open order of play

By the numbers

With his latest win, Matteo Berrettini has now won 12 straight matches stretched over three tournaments – Stuttgart, Queen’s Club and Gstaad. His last loss came against Miomir Kecmanovic in the fourth round at Indian Wells back in March. He’s now into his third straight final of the season.

“Quotable …”

“Obviously, the more you play, the more you feel better. I think today was my best match of the week, obviously against a great player. I knew that I had to play at this level to beat him. I started way better. The approach was better, the attitude was better, the energy was better. I really enjoyed it.”

– No. 2 seed and 2018 Gstaad champion Matteo Berrettini, during his on-court interview after defeating Dominic Thiem to reach Sunday’s championship match.