Marrakech | Berrettini leads a strong Italian group.

Matteo Berrettini rolled comfortably into the second round of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco in preparation of the forthcoming European clay court season.

It’s great to be back. I am just really happy. I said it many times, but seven months without playing is a long time. I missed it, and that’s why I have so much energy right now. I am just enjoying playing Matteo Berrettinin

Berrettini cruised past the sixth seeded Kazak, Alexander Schevchenko 6-2 6-1 after 75-minutes for his first ATP Tour win of the 2024 season and his first tour-level victory since the 2023 US Open.

The 27-year-old Italian is playing his fourth main tour clay tournament since Roland Garros 2021 and is still making his comeback from an ankle injury.

Playing courtesy of a wild card, Berrettini earned his first break in the first game to take a 1-0 lead and nearly went 3-0 up but failed to convert one of the two break points he raised in the third game.

However, he broke for a second time in the game five to stretch his lead to 4-1 and closed out the set three games later after 46-minutes saving two break points in the eighth game.

In the second the former Wimbledon finalist asserted himself on his opponent when he broke for a 2-1 lead from which point, despite earning a couple of break back opportunities by Shevchenko, romped to a well-earned victory.

“It’s great to be back. I am just really happy. I said it many times, but seven months without playing is a long time. I missed it, and that’s why I have so much energy right now. I am just enjoying playing”, Berrettini said on reaching the second round.

“Today I played really good. In the comeback I didn’t expect to play so many matches in a row, but it’s good, it’s what I needed. It’s one of the reasons probably why I won this match as well. I feel good, and I’m really happy to be here in Morocco.”

The former top-tenner was joined by his compatriot, the world number 63, Flavio Cobolli who beat Jordan’s Abdullah Shelbayh 6-1 6-4 after 72-minutes and goes on to meet Pavel Kotov in what is a re-match of their second round clash at last January’s Australian Open.

Also through is the flamboyant Fabio Fognini, who came through qualifying and recovered from losing a tight first set to defeat Hugo Gaston of France 6-7(4) 6-1 6-4 but Matteo Gigante failed to make the second round where Lorenzo Sonego, is till to get his opening match under way having received a bye as the fourth seed.

In other action Australian Alexandar Vukic beat Frenchman Alexander Muller 6-3 7-6(5) to set up a second-round match against second seed Sebastian Ofner of Austria while India’s Sumit Nagal came back from one set down to beat another Frenchman, Corentin Moutet 4-6 6-3 6-2 to take on Sonego.

Finally, Switzerland’s three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka needed just 75-minutes to register a 6-1 6-4 victory over Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas.

“I feel good after the match, happy to be here in Marrakech for the first time,” said Wawrinka, who won the Moroccan clay-court event in its former home of Casablanca in 2010. “I first played this tournament 14 years ago, so I’m super happy to be here. I’m looking forward to the next match.”


Stan Wawrinka looks to be in commanding form

(Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images,)




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