Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Italy's Berrettini edges Monfils at US Open for 1st Slam SF

Italy's Berrettini edges Monfils at US Open for 1st Slam SF

Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome, gave Italy a spot in the final four at the U.S. Open for the first time since 1977 in dramatic fashion, double-faulting away his initial match point and then needing four more to finally put away 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) after almost four hours in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Roman beat France's Gael Monfils by 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in 3 hours and 56 minutes of a gruelling quarter-final.

The Spaniard made it through to the quarterfinals after beating 2014 U.S. Open victor Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the previous round, while Schwartzman overcame No. 6 Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2017.

On Friday, Nadal will play No. 24 Matteo Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome who is Italy's first male semifinalist in NY since 1977.

"I'm really happy, I don't what know to say", said Berrettini, who blew a 5-2 lead in the final set and four match points before finally seeing off Monfils in a thriller at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

But the three-time champion quickly shrugged it off to march into the last eight, with a stunning around-the-net victor bringing up match point to the delight of an Arthur Ashe crowd which included Nadal's friend Tiger Woods.

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Monfils coughed up a costly pair of double faults in the breaker - and 17 in total - as Berrettini surged 5-2 ahead, the Frenchman rescuing a fourth match point before a booming serve from the Italian clinched a memorable win. "I have one day to think about it, honestly", he added. Unfortunately for supporters of Schwartzman, as well as he has played so far, there is very little in Nadal's current form to suggest that he has much chance of securing his first ever win over the Spaniard on Wednesday.

That caution was well placed as Schwartzman made the 18-time Grand Slam victor work for every point, with the Argentine fighting back from two breaks down in the opening two sets. "Just the match point", No.24 seed Berrettini said on court.

However, Nadal's hugely impressive reaction after dropping the second set was that of a player still somehow operating at the peak of his incredible physical powers. He is 7-0 against Schwartzman. That match give me confidence.

"And then I take some salt, that's all, and then it was over". Two matches in a row against two tough opponents.

The Spanish second seed dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but still saw off 2014 champion Marin Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2. At 5ft 7in (1.70m) he would be the shortest Grand Slam semi-finalist since 5-foot-6 Harold Solomon at Roland Garros in 1980. He makes big steps forward every week so it will be a big challenge. "So I think definitely it helps me to practice with him".

The 22-year-old had already played 14 sets in three matches before taking on Schwartzman in round four.

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