The 7th seed Matteo Berrettini is through to his third Major semi-final following a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Gael Monfils in three hours and 49 minutes. Thus, Berrettini sets the Rafael Nadal clash and becomes the first Italian player in the Australian Open semi-final!
Berrettini won six points more than Monfils, and they both had around 50 winners and unforced errors to stay neck and neck, at least in the opening four sets. Gael took 34% of the return points but converted only three out of 14 break chances, which cost him dearly.
Matteo grabbed four breaks from 11 opportunities to start all over in the decider and emerge at the top. The Frenchman had a slight edge in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, and the Italian erased that deficit in the shortest range up to four strokes.
Both players served well in the opening four games, and Berrettini grabbed a break at love in the fifth game when Monfils fired a forehand long.
Matteo Berrettini defeated Gael Monfils in five sets on Rod Laver Arena.
Matteo held at love in the next one to confirm the advantage and opened a 5-3 lead with a forehand down the line winner in game eight.
Returning at 4-5, Monfils earned a break chance, and Berrettini saved it with an ace before bringing the opener home after two deuces. Gael survived break opportunities at the beginning of the second set, and Matteo had to work even harder at 1-2, overcoming three break points and ten deuces to bring the game home after 20 minutes.
The Italian served well in the rest of the set and grabbed a break at 3-3 when the Frenchman sprayed a forehand mistake. Serving for the set at 5-4, Berrettini held at love following yet another loose forehand from his rival to forge two sets to love advantage.
Starting all over, Gael got out of jail in the third set's third game and delivered his first break in game six, thanks to Matteo's double fault. With a boost on his side, Monfils painted a forehand winner in game nine to wrap up the set and improve his chances.
The Frenchman served well in the fourth set, and the Italian failed to follow that pace. In the fifth game, Gael painted a forehand winner to move in front and seized the fifth set point at 5-3 after Matteo's loose backhand to force a decider after three hours and 11 minutes.
Like the previous two sets never happened, Berrettini made a fresh start in the fifth and delivered four commanding holds to mount the pressure on the other side. Gael lost the ground and got broken in games one and three to find himself behind and without anything left in the tank.
Serving for the victory at 5-2, Matteo holds at 30 to seal the deal and advance into his first Australian Open semi-final.