It never looked remotely in doubt.
Matteo Berrettini is the Cinch Championships winner at Queen’s for the second year running and now has a 10-0 record over two years on the west London lawns.
Coming soon after a win in the Stuttgart Open, this feels like a pivotal moment in the Italian’s career and he must sense opportunity knocking for him with even bigger prizes on the horizon.
He becomes just the eighth player of the modern era to win back-to-back titles at Queen’s joining some of the greatest names in the sport: John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.
“I always knew that this one of the most historical tournaments that we have and just look at the list here, the winners,” he said. “I think most of them are being number one in the world [at some stage]. Makes me feel good, makes me feel proud.”
For a man who professes to have hated playing on grass until this week at Queen’s, his Serbian opponent in Sunday’s final, Filip Krajinovic, put up a good fight.
On the way to the final, he beat former winners Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic. But this always looked likely to be a case of the 30-year-old having already more or less reached his peak after his first ever main draw wins on the surface.
From Berrettini, much more is expected, now he seems to have shrugged off a hand injury which had been troubling him ahead of the competition in Germany.
The question now is whether the 26-year-old Italian, the world number 10, has it in him to go on and convert a tremendously solid grasscourt game into a grand slam title at Wimbledon or one of the other three majors.
His speed and groundstroke power, allied to a booming serve which can get him out of trouble and bag cheap points, suggests he has the tools.
It would do a great disservice to his opponent to say Sunday’s victory, which was secured in one hour and 33 minutes, was a stroll, but neither did Berrettini come under any real pressure at any point.
He squandered three break points in the opening game of the match and one more in Krajinovic’s next service game, but it always looked a question of when rather than if, and he eventually broke to lead 3-2.
To his enormous credit, the Serb – whose four previous ATP finals had all ended in defeat – managed to break back immediately and took the game up to 5-5 before being broken again.
This time, however, there would be no mistake from Berrettini, who followed a double fault with blistering, unreturnable serves and an ace to close out the set 7-5 in 53 minutes.
Once again, it was in the fifth game of the second set that the Italian broke, this time to love, and he closed out the match with the minimum of fuss, taking the set 6-4.
So can Berrettini do what so many of the previous Queen’s winners have done and go on to win at Wimbledon in the next few weeks? “That is the goal, I guess,” he said.
“I know it’s not going to be easy. I know that it is not going to be something that just because I want it, it’s going to happen. But I’m the guy that’s pushing, you know, like through the limits every time.”
Picture: That winning feeling. Winner and prize. Picture credit: Getty Image for LTA
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