Matteo Berrettini Takes His Revenge In Naples |  ATP Tour

Matteo Berrettini Takes His Revenge In Naples | ATP Tour

A new week. A new level from Matteo Berrettini.

The Italian kick-started his Tennis Napoli Cup campaign Thursday with a confident second-round performance to down Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-2. The pair’s meeting at the ATP 250 event in Naples came just eight days after Carballes Baena had upset Berrettini on the indoor courts in Florence, but the second seed put that previous disappointment to bed in style as he charged to a 91-minute second-round victory.

“The atmosphere, The conditions [were different to Florence] for sure,” said Berrettini after the match. “This is outdoor, way warmer, and I wanted to get revenge. I felt like I had a lot of chances last week and it was tough to digest, especially because I played in Florence, in Italy, so it was really tough. But today I stepped on the court, I think with even more will to win this match, and I think I played better.”

Berrettini struck his forehand cleanly throughout, crashing 36 winners to his opponent’s seven en route to his 30th tour-level win of the season. Carballes Baena showed early intent and carved out the first break point of the match in the second game, but once the Italian escaped via a big serve he assumed control. Berrettini converted three from five break points and sealed the win with a huge inside-out forehand to the delight of the home crowd.

Berrettini, who currently sits in 15th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, seeks a strong run this week in Naples to keep alive his outside chance of qualifying for November’s Nitto ATP Finals. His next opponent at the hard-court event will be Taro Daniel, after the Japanese overcame Pedro Cachin 6-4, 7-6(2).

“Hopefully [the crowd will be] even louder,” said Berrettini later when asked about his quarter-final against Daniel. “That’s what we like to hear when we play, especially here in Naples, one of the warmest cities in the whole world. I love to play here, hopefully it’s going to be a great match.”

Earlier on Thursday, qualifier Zhang Zhizhen notched two wins in a day to etch his name into Chinese tennis history. The 26-year-old defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6(8) in the first round before returning for a 7-6(5), 7-6(11) second-round upset of 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Sebastian Baez. Zhang has moved up 13 spots to No. 96 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, putting himself in position to become the first Chinese man to break the Top 100 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history on Monday, pending results the rest of the week.

Zhang’s next opponent will be Mackenzie McDonald, who also pulled double duty to surge into the quarter-finals. The American backed up his 6-3, 7-5 morning win against #NextGenATP Italian Francesco Passaro with an 6-4, 6-4 second-round upset of Roberto Bautista Agut in the afternoon. The 27-year-old McDonald also reached the last eight in Florence last week.

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