Matteo Berrettini boosted his confidence by becoming a multiple-winner of the Queen’ warm-up event for The Championships which start in eight days time, by retaining his ‘cinch Championships’ title for a second successive year.
I don’t think I could have asked for better preparation [for Wimbledon]. This is the best surface for me, and I love playing in the UK. Matteo Berrettini
The likeable Italian 26-yar-old is currently on a run of 20 wins achieved on grass from 21 matches played, his only loss being the Wimbledon final last year which he hopes to correct in three weeks time!
On Sunday Berrettini required 99-minutes to defeat Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 7-5 6-4 and add Queen’s to the Stuttgart grass court title he had won the preceding week when he overcame Andy Murray in what was his first tournament back from a three month lay-off which included some hand surgery.
With his latest victory he joins John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Murray as the only players in the Open era to win back-to-back Queen’s titles.
It was also the world No.10s seventh career title and places him high up the list of title contenders for Wimbledon.
Krajinovic, who prior to this week had never won a match on grass, didn’t roll over as his successes during the week had provided him with the confidence to play aggressively on the natural surface.
The 30-year-old, having adopted a serve and volley game, took the final to the defending champion and broke back immediately after he had lost his serve in the opening set to level at 3-3.
Berrettini, though, then edged ahead for 6-5 and held serve to take the first set.
Krajinovic had plenty of chances in the first set but Berettini looked to be in control especially after breaking him midway in the second and then holding to finish off the match with an ace,
“There are too many emotions,” Berrettini said soon after his triumph. “The last thing I expected after a surgery was two titles in a row and to defend my title here. I just cannot believe it.
“Every time I walk in the hallways here and see all the names of the champions from the past, and now knowing it’s me, twice, on the same wall gives me goosebumps.
“I don’t think I could have asked for better preparation [for Wimbledon]. This is the best surface for me, and I love playing in the UK.”
Krajinovic, meanwhile, was buoyed by a performance that gave him hope of improving on a woeful record at Wimbledon, where he has suffered four first-round defeats.
“It was an amazing last 10 days, very emotional to be in my first final on grass,” he said.
“Just before this tournament I never won a match on grass, and I hated playing on grass. But I feel now, I want to play more and more!”
In the doubles the Croatian pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic won the title after beating Brit Lloyd Glasspool and Finn Harri Heliovaara) 3-6 7-6(3) 10-6. It is their third title of the season and a third of their careers on a grass-court. Their grass-court record as a partnership stands at 14-1.
In the wheelchair final Belgium’s Joachim Gerard defeated Frenchman Stephane Houdet 6-1 6-2 to win the wheelchair singles title but Houdet got his revenge as he then won the wheelchair doubles title alongside Britain’s Alfie Hewett against Gerard and another Brit Andrew Penney 6-2 6-2.