LONDON (AP) — Big-serving Matteo Berrettini dropped a set for the first time at the Queen’s Club tournament before going on to beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in Sunday’s final.
The 25-year-old Berrettini became the first newcomer to triumph at Queen’s since Boris Becker in 1985. Becker went on to win Wimbledon in the same year.
“It’s been an unbelievable week and to think of Boris Becker’s name and my name is crazy,” Berrettini said. “I have been watching the tournament since I was a kid and this is a dream come true to win it.”
The key for Norrie was to hold his own serve and then hope to eke out a chance or two on Berrettini’s booming serves that can touch 140 mph (225 kph), or strike in the tiebreaker.
It was a huge setback for Norrie when two double-faults gifted Berrettini a break in the opening set, which he went on to take with yet another unreturnable serve.
Norrie saved two break points before moving 5-4 ahead in the second and had a glimpse of an opening at 6-5, 15-30 on Berrettini’s serve, but it was quickly snuffed out.
However, in the tiebreaker the plan worked to perfection, Norrie nicking the mini-break, racking up three set points and taking the third on serve when Berrettini floated a backhand long.
Two more break points were fended off by Norrie at 2-3 in the decider but in his next service game he blew a 40-0 lead, netting to hand Berrettini the chance to serve for the championship.
Berrettini had won his previous 45 service games this week, and he made it 46 to love to land his fifth ATP title and the biggest of his career. He becomes the first Italian to claim the Queen’s title.
Norrie became the first British player to reach the final since Andy Murray in 2016.
Norrie represents Britain after being born in South Africa, growing up in New Zealand, and playing collegiately in the United States.
Britain’s Gordon Reid won the wheelchair singles final with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez.
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