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Naples (Italy), Oct 23 (UiTV/IANS) – With his back against the wall, Matteo Berrettini raised his level on serve to overcome American Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 and set up an all-Italian final against Lorenzo Musetti at the Tennis Napoli Cup, here on Saturday.
In a hard-fought clash at the ATP 250 event, Berrettini struggled on serve in the first set and was troubled by a foot injury, receiving a medical timeout at 2-5 in the opener.
However, the second-seed stuck to the task at hand and slowly turned the match around. He fired 10 aces and struck 30 winners across the second and third sets to advance after two hours and 25 minutes on home soil.
“I don’t even know how I did it. I wasn’t feeling very good. I asked for the physio because my foot was hurting. It happened so many times in my career that I had to fight through so many things, not just thinking about the tennis ball,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview.
“I didn’t want to retire. My team told me ‘I think you should stop’. But I tried and I found a way,” he added.
With his victory, Berrettini climbed to 13th in the ATP Live Race To Turin on 2,375 points. The 26-year-old, currently 690 points behind seventh-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime, will need a strong end to the season to give him a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals for the third time.
Berrettini’s opponent in final — the 20-year-old Musetti — maintained his good hard-court form to down Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4.
Musetti reached the semifinals in his past two tournaments in Sofia and Florence, but he rarely looked in danger of falling at the same stage in Naples, where he found rhythm behind his groundstrokes to dictate play against Kecmanovic.
He broke the Serbian’s serve three times en route to an 89-minute win to the delight of the home fans.
Musetti will play for his second ATP Tour title of the year against Berrettini. He lifted his maiden tour-level crown in Hamburg in July and he is now 29-23 for the season.
Currently third in the ATP Live Race To Milan, Musetti has already secured his spot at November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year.