Gstaad (Switzerland), July 23 (IANS) Continuing his magical European summer, World No. 15 Matteo Berrettini stormed into the final of the Swiss Open with a straight-sets semifinal victory against 2015 champion Dominic Thiem, here on Saturday.
The Italian dominated the pair's sixth ATP head-to-head meeting at the clay-court ATP 250 event in Switzerland, where he struck the ball with power and accuracy throughout to charge to a 6-1, 6-4 victory. Berrettini raced to a 5-0 lead early in the first set and gave Thiem few opportunities to establish a foothold in the match thereafter, going on to seal victory in 78 minutes.
'I'm really happy with my performance. I knew that I had to play my best tennis to beat him,' said Berrettini, the 2018 champion in Gstaad, after the match.
'I think my game, in general, was working pretty well. I was serving well, and returning well. I was being aggressive. I don't think I gave him the time to play his game and that was the key today,' he added.
Having won his previous two tournaments in Stuttgart and at The Queen's Club, the win extends Berrettini's winning streak since returning to Tour in June after a hand injury to 12 matches. With the win, the second seed also extended his ATP head-to-head series lead against Thiem to 4-2.
Berrettini did not hold back in the early stages against Thiem. The second seed hit cleanly through the ball off both wings to pile the pressure on the Austrian, and his aggressive tactics saw him ease to the first set after breaking his opponent's serve in the second and fourth games.
The seven-time tour-level titlist Berrettini continued to target the Thiem delivery early in the second set and he moved within a game of a quickfire victory at 5-2.
A series of trademark-searing backhand winners from the former World No. 3 Thiem pegged the Italian back as he was broken when serving for the match, but the Italian was not to be denied. He wrapped up a comfortable triumph having won 85 percent (29/34) of points behind his first serve, compared to Thiem's 55 percent (18/33).
Standing between the second seed and his third Tour title of 2022 in Sunday's championship match will be defending champion Casper Ruud or 2019 titlist Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
'It's going to be tough. I was actually thinking about it yesterday. The four semifinalists all won the title here, so we definitely like to play in Gstaad. We like the altitude. I won in 2018, Albert in 2019, and Casper in 2021, so I guess we like it here. It's going to be a really tough match between them and I'm going to see what to do tomorrow,' said Berrettini.
Despite Saturday's defeat, Thiem's semifinal run in Gstaad represents another promising sign for the 17-time Tour titlist as he seeks to regain his best form after returning to competitive action in March following a nine-month layoff due to a wrist injury.
His victories against Hugo Gaston, Federico Delbonis and Juan Pablo Varillas in Switzerland this week have lifted the Austrian 77 spots to No 197 in the ATP Live Rankings.
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