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.
“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).