Wimbledon 2021: Berrettini continues winning run on grass

Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his winning run on grass to brush aside Guido Pella in four sets to move to the second round at Wimbledon.

Berrettini, seen as a dark horse for the Wimbledon title in the absences of Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem and the first-round exit of Stefanos Tsitsipas, moved up a gear in the fourth set.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his winning run on grass with a confident display against Guido Pella of Argentina to roll into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-0 victory on Wednesday.

One of the many players yet to play their first round due to rain interruptions on the first two days, the 25-year-old Italian arrived at the grasscourt Grand Slam brimming with confidence having won the title at Queen's.

But his first meeting against the 59th-ranked Pella was considered a tricky one as the Argentine had proved his mettle on grass by reaching the quarter-finals when the major was last held in 2019.

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There were not many break points on offer early as the duo served strongly and Berrettini and Pella both converted their lone chances to share the first two sets.

Forehand unforced errors from Pella helped the Italian nose ahead in the third set when he got the break in the 10th game.

Berrettini, seen as a dark horse for the Wimbledon title in the absences of Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem and the first-round exit of Stefanos Tsitsipas, moved up a gear in the fourth set.

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He won the last eight games and breezed through the set in just 23 minutes.

Berrettini, who served 20 aces and hit 46 winners overall against 21 from Pella, will next meet Dutch lucky loser Botic Van De Zandschulp who ousted French qualifier Gregoire Barrere 6-2 6-7(4) 6-1 7-6(3).

'Becker comparison a privilege'

Italian Matteo Berrettini has been compared with Boris Becker since emulating the German by winning at Queen's Club on debut this month but the lofty connection with the three-times Wimbledon champion does not add to the pressure he feels.

Becker went on to add the Wimbledon title 26 years back after his triumph at Queen's to bag the first of his six Grand Slam crowns.

"I mean, pressure and these kind of things I think it's a privilege in a way," the Italian told reporters after his opening round win.

"If someone told me a few years ago, 'Look, they're going to compare your name to Becker', I would be, I don't know, I would feel great. It feels great.

"I know now I step in the court and people around me in general, they expect me to win. I expect myself to win. Two years ago, three years ago when I got here, I know it wasn't like that. Everything changed."

Berrettini also had a chance to talk to Becker last week at the All England Club although he was not sure the German would recognise him.

"I think the best part was that I met him as soon as I got here. He was walking by. He stopped. I was surprised because he knew who I was. He made me feel good," Berrettini said. "He told me like, 'Well done. Now we have something in common'. I was like, Okay. So he knew.

"I was like, Yeah, I wish I have everything in common, like all the titles and stuff. I'll try to get there.

"He also told me I had to keep my mind clear to have a long run here. I'll try to do that."

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