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Swiss Open: Berrettini makes winning return in Gstaad

Gstaad (Switzerland), July 21 (IANS) Matteo Berrettini made a winning return to the ATP Tour on Thursday, after defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals at the Swiss Open.

Playing in his first match since triumphing at The Queen’s Club in June, the Italian showed little sign of rustiness against the Frenchman, improving to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“I have great memories here,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “My first ATP Tour title. I really like these conditions. Even though I was coming from grass and this is the complete opposite, I like when the ball is jumping like this. I think it suits my game and my serve. Also I have a lot of people coming to support me. A lot of Italians I heard, so I am really happy to be here and I am enjoying it.”

In front of a vocal crowd, the second seed fired seven aces and won 79 per cent (31/39) of his first-serve points to advance after one hour and 30 minutes, setting up a meeting with Pedro Martinez. The fifth-seeded Spaniard edged Elias Ymer 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 49 minutes.

Berrettini, who missed Wimbledon due to Covid, has now won his past 10 matches. He lifted trophies on grass in Stuttgart and London in June after missing the spring clay swing in Europe due to a right hand injury.

The 26-year-old, currently No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is making his second appearance in Gstaad, having not dropped a set en route to the title in 2018.

“I think it was a great match,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “The conditions are quite challenging here with the altitude and the ball can fly. You need to serve and return well and I think I did that well all day. I started a little bit shakey, had some break points against me, but I was able to win that game and get going. It is nice to get a win again.”

Ruud, who suffered a disappointing opening-round exit in Bastad last week, will next meet Spaniard Jaume Munar.

“I have had great success here and in Geneva, so it feels very good to be back,” Ruud said.

“It was a wish to play in Gstaad because we had great memories. This city is beautiful. It is nice to come back to a place where you have won before and hopefully I can do well at this tournament. It is a great atmosphere and I love playing in Switzerland.”

The World No. 5 is trying to win his third tour-level trophy of the season this week, having triumphed on clay in Buenos Aires and Geneva. Earlier this year, the 23-year-old also reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami and maiden Grand Slam championship match at Roland Garros.

–IANS

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