Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini: US Open 2021: Quarterfinal: Game Analysis

The best match of the US Open 2021 is here as two in-form players are pitted against each other. Top seed Novak Djokovic faces the 6th seed Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals at New York City. 

Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini: H2H: Djokovic leads 3-0

Djokovic and Berrettini have locked horns in the biggest tournaments and on different surfaces (indoor hard, outdoor clay, and outdoor grass). 

The World number 1 defeated the Italian 6-2 6-1 in the round-robin stage of the Nitto ATP Finals 2019. However, Matteo gave a good fight with a 4-set defeat in the French Open quarterfinals in 2021. This was followed by another four-set victory by Nole in the Wimbledon final this year.

Novak Djokovic: Continuing his invincibility

The Serbian is chasing history in Flushing Meadows. Tied at 20 grand slam apiece with archrivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic can occupy the throne with 21 majors. 

The World number 1 continued his usual pattern of losing the first set. Backed by a buoyant crowd, Jenson Brooksby took the opening set 6-1. Nole’s first-serve percentage of 50 was a stark contrast to the American’s 75. The homeboy was sharp at the net as he clinched 80% of points. 

Importantly, Brooksby committed just 1 unforced error when compared to Novak’s 11. But the top seed struck a dagger right in the heart of his opponents. 

The Serb played with more authority in the next 3 sets taking it with an imposing scoreline of 6-3 6-2 6-2. He did hit an oddball out. However, the 20-time grand slam champion improved his first-serve win % rapidly.  

On the other hand, Jenson Brooksby suffered a lapse in concentration. Both players had a similar game style (right-handers and two-handed backhands). Despite some occasional boos from the crowd, Novak hardly lost focus. He was sharp at the net and handled the American youngster’s unorthodox game effectively. 

Matteo Berrettini overcomes Oscar Otte in 4 sets in the pre-quarters:

Otte had adapted to the fast hard courts in New York. The German came through 6 gruelling rounds (3 each in the qualifying and main draw). He was also the lowest-ranked player to reach the 4th round of the US Open since Jiří Novák in 2006. 

 However, Oscar ran into a special youngster in Matteo Berrettini. The Italian had lost in the 4th round of the US Open last year to Andrey Rublev in 4 sets. 

The 6th seed struck the first blow by winning the opening set 6-4. A combination of a big serve and a speedy forehand made the difference. The Italian sensation smashed 10 winners and won 93% of his first-serve points. 

Ranked 144 in the world, Otte made a tremendous comeback by taking the second set 6-3. The German clinched 89% of his second-serve points compared to Berrettini’s 50. 

Having reached the US Open semifinals in 2019, Matteo used his experience to good effect in the 3rd and 4th set respectively. 

Standing at a towering height of 6’5”, the Italian claimed an average of 91% of his first-serve points. Berrettini maintained the momentum with 23 winners in contrast to Otte’s 8. Overall, the Italian clinched 84% of points at the net, fired 12 aces, and pounded 44 winners in 144 minutes.

Where will the battle be won? Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini

As observed in the Wimbledon 2021 finals, Djokovic lost the first set but bounced back to win the match in 4. The tendency could likely be repeated if Matteo serves well (takes more than 85% of his first-serve points).

Novak committed a lot of unforced errors (41) in a 2-hour 59-minute battle against Jenson Brooksby in the round of 16. Berrettini also hit long returns 29 times in his pre-quarters against Oscar Otte. 

The match could be decided between the number of winners hit by both players (45 by Novak and 44 by Matteo in their respective pre-quarterfinals). 

Image Credits - US Open - Twitter

The two-handed backhands of the legend and the young star will have to be consistent. Of course, the 100% capacity crowd at the Arthur Ashe stadium will influence the outcome of this high-octane encounter. 

“He is going to definitely feel pressure, but he’s a guy who the more pressure he has, the better he plays, that is why he is such a champion, that is why for me he is the biggest tennis player in the history of the sport,” beamed Goran Ivanisevic (coach of Novak Djokovic). 

“I believe in my abilities and I think I can beat Djokovic, we had some tight matches recently, so I am confident,” said Matteo Berrettini, promising to give his best against Novak.

So cherished fans, are you supporting the old guard or the next-gen at Flushing Meadows? Do post your thoughts here. 

Featured Image Credits - US Open - Twitter  

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