Ber­ret­tini signs off with his­toric win over Thiem

The National - News - - SPORT -

Mat­teo Ber­ret­tini be­came the first Ital­ian to win a match in ATP Fi­nals his­tory as he signed off with a 7-6(3) 6-3 de­feat of off-colour Do­minic Thiem at the O2 Arena on Thurs­day.

The after­noon tus­sle was a lit­tle flat as Thiem had al­ready sealed a place in the semi-fi­nals af­ter group wins against Roger Fed­erer and No­vak Djokovic, while Ber­ret­tini could not progress.

But the pow­er­ful 23-yearold Ber­ret­tini, mak­ing his de­but at the tour­na­ment, pro­duced some eye-catch­ing ten­nis to make sure he heads home with a mo­rale-boost­ing win.

The 200 rank­ing points and $215,000 for the group stage win capped a stun­ning year for Ber­ret­tini who was out­side the top 50 in Jan­uary but will end the sea­son ranked eighth.

The only other Ital­ians to qual­ify for the elite sea­son-en­der were Cor­rado Baraz­zutti in 1978 and Adri­ano Panatta in 1975 and nei­ther man­aged to win a match.

Ber­ret­tini served for the first set at 5-4 af­ter break­ing the Thiem serve to love in the pre­vi­ous game, but a net­ted vol­ley handed back the break.

The Ital­ian dom­i­nated the tiebreak and grew in con­fi­dence in the sec­ond set as Thiem, suf­fer­ing with a cold, failed to re­peat the daz­zling form he dis­played when beat­ing Djokovic in a three­set thriller on Tues­day.

A run­ning back­hand pass gave him a break for 4-2 in the sec­ond set and he closed out the win in dom­i­nant fashion. De­spite los­ing on Thurs­day, Thiem has won the group and has en­tered the semi-fi­nals.

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