‘Unbelievable!’ – Matteo Berrettini makes more national history with impressive Australian Open victory
Matteo Berrettini held off a spirited comeback from Gael Monfils that saw the Frenchman force a deciding set from two sets down before the Italian came through in the fifth.
The world number seven had already become the first Italian man to reach the quarter-finals of all four Slam events by setting up his meeting with Monfils.
He then defeated the world number 20 in a certified epic on Rod Laver Arena 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 after nearly four hours on-court.
Former ATP top 60 Australian Sam Groth was on interview duty after the match, alerting Berrettini to the fact that he has now also become the first Italian man to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
“It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini told Groth in his post-match interview.
“And hopefully tomorrow, [Jannik Sinner] is going to be the second one.
“But yes I’m really happy again, what a great fight against Gael [Monfils], great match, a lot of emotions.
“i thought I had him in the third and then I found myself in the fifth.”
20-year-old Sinner could make it two from two for Italy if he defeats world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas to also reach the semi-finals in Melbourne.
There is even the chance of an all-Italian final if Berrettini beats Rafael Nadal in his semi-final and Sinner gets past Tsitsipas then either world number nine Felix Auger-Aliassime or US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the last four.
On facing Nadal next, Berrettini spoke about his only previous encounter with the 20-time Major winner, coming in the semi-finals of the 2019 US Open, which the Spaniard went on to win for his 19th Slam crown.
“It was a really tough match for me, [Nadal] won the tournament after.
“It was my first [Slam] semi-final, I didn’t really know what to expect.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a great fight!”
Both Nadal and Berrettini now have two days rest before they do battle on Friday for a place in the Australian Open final.
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