ThrowbackTimes Stuttgart: Matteo Berrettini tops Felix Auger-Aliassime to complete..



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ThrowbackTimes Stuttgart: Matteo Berrettini tops Felix Auger-Aliassime to complete..

Kicking off 2018 season with no ATP wins under his belt, the Italian Matteo Berrettini made stellar progress in the next 18 months, cracking the top-30 and claiming three ATP titles from four finals. Matteo had scored only two ATP wins on grass before Stuttgart 2019 but that wasn't easy to notice last year at the ATP 250 event, winning five matches in straight sets and facing only two breaks points to become a deserved champion.

In the title match, the Italian took down the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes, becoming the first Italian with an ATP title on grass in eight years after fending off five set points in the second set tie break.

Auger-Aliassime played for the first ATP title and gave his best to stay in touch with an in-form rival, blasting 16 aces and repelling five out of six break chances, squandering those opportunities in the second set that could have prolonged the encounter for him and kept him in contention.

On the other hand, Berrettini lost 14 points behind the initial shot, never facing a break point and delivering good serves when he needed them the most in the tie break to claim it 13-11 and cross the finish line without playing the decider.

Both players had more winners than unforced errors and Berrettini drew more forced mistakes to move over the top, delivering better tennis when it mattered the most to earn the trophy.

Felix had a small lead in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, with the Italian erasing the deficit in the more advanced exchanges. Matteo drew first blood in the third game when Felix netted a backhand, serving well in the rest of the set to take it 6-4 following another good hold and a volley winner in game ten after 32 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime worked hard to fend off five break chances in the early stages of the second set, staying on the positive side of the scoreboard to reach the tie break where he opened a 6-4 lead, only to waste both set points.

Serving at 6-7, 8-9 and 10-11, Matteo was able to find a strong initial shot, repelling all five set points and prevailing with a mini-break in the 24th point when Felix failed to control Berrettini's deep return. Matteo Berrettini became the sixth player of the new generation of stars born in 1995 or later with three ATP titles, joining Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, making another big step towards the top-20 and hoping for more of the same in Halle and Wimbledon.