The hope that both Andy Murray and Dan Evans would join Camron Norrie and Jack Draper in the quarter finals of the cinci Championships at Queen’s were dashed by the top seeded Mateo Berrettini of Italy, who proved too strong for the former five-time champion of the event.
My tennis today was not very good. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most rather than, I think, the actual movement around the court. Andy Murray
Murray, who was looking to collect his first win over a top ten player as he prepares for what will be an emotional return to Wimbledon, was just unable to find an answer to counter the powerful Italian who broke him five times in the 85-minutes he required to inflict a 6-3 6-3 defeat over the British legend.
No doubt much to Murray’s irritation, he shot 14 aces past him and could only collect six points of Berrettini’s first sere.
“This was really hard. We all know who Andy is; he is a great player and he was always there even until the last point,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy for my performance.
“I know how tough it is to come back from an injury, so I wish him the best of luck. I think he played great today. I played better. I am just happy that he is back.”
Murray’s recuperation to full fitness still needs more time and he did hint that he had suffered a ‘niggle’ in his groin, no doubt straining his rebuilt hip.
“I played two sets in preparation for this event,” he said. “It’s not very much when you haven’t played matches since March. I do feel like I genuinely have been hitting the ball well in practice.
“But then like today, when you’re under a bit more pressure and stuff and having to make very split-second decisions when you’re on the court, if the guy is serving 140 miles an hour it’s difficult to prepare for that.
“My tennis today was not very good. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most rather than, I think, the actual movement around the court.”
Ironically Berrettini’s victory means he now faces the current British No.1 Dan Evans, who defeated the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4 7-6(7) in the opening match of the day.
The 31-year-old from Birmingham got off to a perfect start leaping into a 3-0 lead bu found himself pulled back to 4-4 when Mannarino eventually settled. But regained the momentum in the next game with a break to go on and serve out for the set.
In the second it was a much tighter affair with both players able to hold serve and with the match finely balanced, Mannarino nearly made the breakthrough to level the match with two set points which Evans defended well.
In the eventual tiebreak Evans an early edge but let two match points slip and had to defend a set point before finally securing the victory at the third time of asking.
“It was a high-level match. I’m just pleased to come through,” Evans said on the court afterwards.
“I knew he ws good on grass and it would be a tough match. I didn’t envision it would be tat tight. It was tough to hold ny nerve when I was down set point.
“I didn’t seize the moment at 3-2, I don’t think I got off the ground,” Evans added of the tight tie-breaker.
“It’s difficult to play your game and go after it, you want to play it safe. But I think I did well and came up with some good points when I needed them.”
Also through to the last eight are the Canadian second seed, Denis Shapovalov, who ousted former champion Feliciano Lopez 6-2 6-3 and Frances Tiafoe of the US who defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3 7-6(3. The two complete the quarter-final line-up alongside the all-Brit battle between Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie, and Australia’s Alex De Minaur, seeded 4 facing former the former champion from Croatia, Marin Cilic.