September 23, 2019
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Berrettini's spirited fight not enough to beat Nadal at US Open semis

New York, Sept. 6 (efe-epa).- Matteo Berrettini, the first Italian to reach a US Open semifinal in more than four decades, put up a spirited fight against Spain's Rafael Nadal, but it was not enough to stop the world no. 2’s victory with 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-1 at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal, 33 and three times US Open champion, managed to pass to the final of the last Grand Slam of the year after a match lasting more than two and a half hours in which Berrettini tried to overcome his rival with powerful serves and shots from the baseline.

In a first set, the 23-year-old Italian's strategy seemed to work, but the consistency of Nadal's blows gradually dented Berrettini's confidence.

The first set, which lasted about an hour and a quarter, was a neck-to-neck contest and led to a tie break that world no. 25 Berrettini came very close to winning.

The Italian's shots found the net at crucial moments, and Nadal saved two set points to the disbelief of the audience watching the game under the retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

In the second set, Berrettini appeared less confident, and went on to make a total of 44 unforced errors (and 37 winners) during the game, while Nadal had already learned to deal with his drop shots.

The third set began with the Spaniard breaking his opponent's serve at the first opportunity, and while Berrettini continued to provide a display of power and precision, the net had turned into his worst nemesis.

"The first set was a little frustrating because I had a lot of break points before the tie-break and he didn't have any," said the Spaniard after the game.

"I finally got the break in the second and then the match completely changed," Nadal said minutes after the game. "I started to play with more calm and be more aggressive. I'm super happy to be back in the final of the US Open.”

The world no. 2 also congratulated Berrettini, who he said has a great future ahead of him.

Among the public was the only other Italian to reach the semifinals of the US Open, Corrado Barazzutti, who achieved the feat in 1977 but was defeated by the American Jimmy Connors.

Nadal, 33, on Sunday will face Daniil Medvedev, 23, whom the Mallorcan described as “playing the best tennis on tour this summer."

"I need to be playing at my best… in a Grand Slam final you can't expect an easy opponent," he said. EFE-EPA

hc/tw-sk/tw

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