US Open 2019: Berrettini Up Against ‘Greatest Fighter Ever’ Nadal

Rafael Nadal is fit and raring to go in the US Open semifinals

Matteo Berrettini will be featuring in his first ever Grand Slam semi-final and he reckons he’s up against the greatest fighter the sport of tennis has ever seen.

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They may be opponents but Berrettini and Nadal look like they have nothing but admiration for each other. Berrettini, for one, knows what he’s up against, a player with 18 Grand Slams under his belt, including one this year to go with another Grand Slam final in 2019.

The Italian 24th seed, who had never gone beyond the fourth round at any Grand Slam before this US Open, was happy to admit that his Spanish opponent was one of a kind.

Speaking to the media, Berrettini said about Nadal:

“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing. I admire him, the way he is on the court. His attitude is something that is… I think it’s close to perfection. I think he’s the greatest fighter ever in this sport.”

Berrettini would know a thing or two about fighting though. In his quarter-final against Gael Monfils, he was a set down and on the verge of falling two breaks down in the second set, a position from where a comeback would have been nigh impossible.

Instead he fought and rallied to take the next two sets and clinch the match in five sets. This was after he had defeated the much-fancied Andrey Rublev in fourth round in straight sets as well.

That said, the Italian has faced just one seeded player all tournament – Monfils – and none of them in the top 10. At Wimbledon this year, he made it to the fourth round but was routed by the second seeded Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, and had earlier gone down to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round at Australian Open.

Suffice to say, it won’t be an easy one for Berrettini.

Berrettini could look to take inspiration from Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov, both of whom won their matches against the other members of the Big Four. However, fitness issues played their part in their matches against Novk Djokovic and Roger Federer, both of whom struggled with their respective problems.

Nadal also looked like he was in an injury scare in his quarter-final against Diego Schwartzman, but dispelled any injury concerns. When asked about his condition at the end of his quarter-final, Nadal explained he felt the effects of the humidity that led to some cramping but after he had salt during the match, he was fine.

Later when Nadal was asked about his semi-final opponent, he said:

“He is having a great year. He’s in the semi-finals, winning a lot of good matches. In the semi-finals of a Grand Slam match you can’t expect an easy opponent. You can’t expect an easy match. He’s serving huge, big forehands, moving well, and big confidence because he’s having a great year.”

The Nadal-Berrettini match will commence at around 6 pm local time (or 11 pm BST).

Stan Boone
About Stan Boone 1474 Articles
Love all racket sports but none more than tennis. Fell in love with it thanks to Steffi Graf.

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