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Berrettini returns with a win in Marrakesh


Marrakesh, Morocco: Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, runner-up at Wimbledon in 2021, won his first match on the main ATP circuit yesterday after an injuryplag­ued seven months.

The former world number six, who has slipped to 135th, dispatched 56th-ranked Kazakh Alexander Shevchenko 6-2, 6-1 on the clay in Morocco. The Italian will next play Spaniard Jaume Munar in the second round. “Seven months without playing is a long time,” said Berrettini. “I missed it and that’s why I have so much energy.” The 27-year-old limped out of the US Open last August after rupturing right ankle ligaments and was forced to pull out of the Australian Open on the eve of his return with a foot injury. Berrettini reached the final of a Challenger event in Phoenix in March but lost in the first round of the Masters 1000 in Miami to Andy Murray later that same month.

A former US Open and Australian Open semi-finalist, the Italian has been beset by injuries over the past few years with hand surgery in 2022 and abdominal problems the following year.

Meanwhile former US Open champion Dominic Thiem is hoping his approach of cutting down the intensity of his practice will help him avert a recurring wrist injury as he looks to climb back up the world rankings after a turbulent few years. The 30-yearold former world number three has struggled to get back to top form after suffering a wrist injury in 2021, which sidelined him for months and saw him slip down the rankings. On Monday, the twice French Open finalist claimed his first win on the ATP Tour in 2024 by beating German Maximilian Marterer 6-1 6-7(3) 6-4 in the first round of the Estoril Open. “(I’m going) to listen a bit to my body,” Thiem said after his win.

“To really take care that there is nothing coming up, no problems for the wrist. I cut down the intensity of my practice a little bit, but I’ve had enough practice in my life. I can handle it if it’s a little bit less.”

Thiem next faces veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet today.

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