Sixth seed Matteo Berrettini had to work hard Monday at the US Open as he battled past qualifier Oscar Otte 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals in New York for a second time.
Berrettini reached his first major final at Wimbledon earlier this year, though missed the Olympics with a thigh injury. He had already had a major scare at the US Open against Winston-Salem champion Ilya Ivashka, being pushed to five sets.
Another stern test
25-year-old Berrettini was tested again against Otte, this time winning in four sets. He had a blip in the second set before raising his intensity to advance after two hours and 22 minutes. The German struggled with a wrist injury throughout the fourth set but continued playing.
“It was an intriguing match, as I expected. Different court, tricky player. I wasn’t feeling really good at the beginning,” Berrettini said. “I had to adjust to the conditions and it was a match that I knew I could win and it’s never easy when it’s like that.
“I felt the pressure a little bit but I handled it pretty well. He was playing well and also the right way to not let me play my best tennis. Oscar had a great run and I told him that he didn’t deserve [to go out with an injury], but that’s tennis. It happened to me in Australia this year. It’s never easy but he can take a lot of good from this tournament.”
Facing Djokovic in US Open quarters
The World No. 8 has fond memories at Flushing Meadows, having enjoyed a run to his first major semi-final at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2019. Berrettini will hope to get one over World Number 1 Djokovic next.
Djokovic is hoping for similar results to the last two Grand Slams where he has faced the Italian. However, he’s not taking things lightly.
“[He’s the] hammer of tennis. Next to [Juan Martin] del Potro, probably the hardest hitter of serve and forehand,” Djokovic said. “He’s got the lethal serve-plus-one game. He’s already established as a top player.
“Without a doubt, he played a… semi-final here a couple years ago, final in Wimbledon. That was a tough four-setter. If he serves well, which is his biggest weapon, he’s tough. He’s tough on any surface to play against.
“I’ve had some really close matches with him at [Roland Garros] and Wimbledon recently. We’re going to play the third Grand Slam in a row against each other. Hopefully the result will be the same as the previous two.”