Quarter final time in Austria. Surprise quarterfinalist from Spain Carlos Alcaraz Garfia taking on big serving Italian Berrettini. Carlos, a clay court specialist no doubt, should not be considered a surprise because he had a good run at Flushing Meadows retiring in his quarterfinal with Felix A.A of Canada. But is was such a surprise how easily Matteo faltered in the first set. Check out 3-3(30-30) first set. The net attack ala grass court tennis is just the kind of guts that win you matches against top ten opposition if your game in centered on clay. The volley catching Matteo by surprise. Berrettini was simply blown away on that first set with Carlos picking apart his second serve. The Spaniard winning 74% of his second serve points to just 46% for Matteo. His first serve wasn’t shabby at all, watch 5-1(40-0)triple set point), he no doubt targeted the weaker backhand.
When I watch Carlos, I can see an uncanny similarity in playing style to his coach,2003 French Open(incidentally the year Carlos was born) Champ Juan Carlos Ferrero. Like Juan, Carlos is easily adoptable to the hard court riggers, he is not just a baseliner but can mix it up. Berrettini was more like himself in the second set. Check out 4-3(15-0). He surprised Carlos here by going wide on the ad court to get the forehand on the serve, have no doubt Carlos thought Matteo was going to hit the defensive backhand back to court. From there the Italian was always favorite to win the point. Matteo winning the middle set on a tie break , serving much better than the first. 12 Aces in this match should be considered modest by his lofty standards though.
The third set was one of the best of the tournament so far. Watch 1-0(15-0), the long rally. Here we see the Juan influence once again in the defensive play of Carlos. Now watch 2-1 Alcaraz(40-30 break point). Matteo looked down and out after this one. The thing with Carlos is that he stretches the rally as far as possible to wear you down, then punishes anything short that you play to him. He is a joy to watch. He played a stinker of a service game at 4-2 to lose serve to love showing that youthful guts which didn’t pay off in this one double faulting on the first of three break points. Tie breaker was imminent and it was a close one. Before that a point out of the top drawer, 5-5(30-0 to Alcaraz). The second last shot from Barrettini in the rally, the forehand cross court was the shot that made the point win possible, never mind the astonishingly low backhand at the end. In the end the better player won. Carlos hit some impressive winners in the breaker none so good as the huge forehand at 3-1.