Matteo Berrettini battles past Alexei Popyrin in Vienna
Berrettini returned to the courts in Vienna after a while and the Italian looked rather sharp in conditions where his devastating combination of serve + forehand works well. It was the first indoor for Berrettini since the Laver Cup and against a tricky opponent in Popyrin. Both of these players play very similarly but Berrettini is a much more complete player at this stage and it showed in this match.
The first set was a rather long one as neither player allowed much on serve. Strong serves reigned supreme and both were good in converting their first serve into a winning point. Berrettini did have one break point but Popyrin was able to save it. Naturally, we ended up in a tiebreak where the Italian simply proved better winning it 7-3.
For Berrettini, the key was more solid overall play. Popyrin was more dominant on his serve but the Australian lost more 2nd serve points and that proved key. As the match went on Popyrin was slowly faltering more and more and eventually, the Italian was able to create some chances with his forehand. He broke him midway through the set at 3-2 to make it 4-2 and then 5-2.
From there it was a rather easy finish for Berrettini who moves on with the win. The Italian is all but secure for Turin but a good run in Vienna would cement his place in the Piedmontese city which is what Berrettini wants. So far so good.