Matteo Berretini has rolled into the Wimbledon tennis records by becoming the first Italian to reach the final round of The Championships and in the process surpasses Nicola Pietrangeli, the Italian living legend who only made the last four in 1960.
I have no words. I need, I think, couple of hours to understand what happened. I just know that I played a great match. I'm really happy. I'm really glad to be here Matteo Berrettini
The last Italian to win a Grand Slam is Adriano Panatta who won the French Open in 1976.
Berrettini beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkcazc 6-3 6-0 6-7(3) 6-4 in the first of this year’s semi-finals featuring two players who were making their debuts at this late stage of a grand slam.
For Berrettini, the higher ranked of the two, the win was his 11th consecutive triumph on grass having collected the Queen’s title on his debut, just prior to arriving at SW19.
After a nervy start by the two players, it was the 25-year-old Roman who snatched the initiative in the seventh game, to launch an impressive run of 11 consecutive games in what looked like an inevitable run into the final.
Hurkacz looked downhearted and dispirited as he struggled with his game to provide some sort of suitable challenge bearing in mind, he had dispatched both the world No.2 Daniil Medvedev and the 8-time former Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer, in the two previous rounds.
But he was mistiming the ball and found it difficult to counter the power of the Berrettini serve as well as that fearsome forehand. But he did stop that run of games against him in the third holding his serve to eventually force a tie-break where a tense looking Berrettini made a forehand error to hand his Polish opponent a 4-1 lead.
Now it was the turn of Hurkacz to dominate the court as he had the Italian chasing his ground strokes all over the court to claim the third set.
His recovery proved short lived as Berrettini captured the opening game of the fourth and only needed to hold his serve, which was never threatened throughout the match, to claim the prize of a final place after 2-hours and 36-minutes of a roller-coaster match.
“I have no words,” Berrettini, who hit 22 aces to Hurkacz’s 5, said in his on-court interview. “I need, I think, couple of hours to understand what happened. I just know that I played a great match. I’m really happy. I’m really glad to be here.
“I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream.
“I thought after the third set I felt I deserved to win that set and I said to myself ‘it doesn’t matter’, I felt like the stronger player. Eventually it paid off.
“It’s the best tennis day of my life,” and with reference to the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, where Italy face England, added: “Hopefully Sunday will be even better!”