Kicking off 2018 with no ATP wins under, his belt, the young Italian Matteo Berrettini has worked hard to earn the place among the best players in the world, cracking the top-30 and lifting two ATP titles. Berrettini will have the opportunity to fight for the third ATP trophy on Sunday in Stuttgart, beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 14 minutes for the fourth ATP final and the first on grass.
Matteo arrived in Stuttgart with only five ATP matches on green surface and he has been on fire this week, facing only two break points in four encounters and delivering four quick victories to move closer to lifting the trophy.
Those two game points came today against Struff and Berrettini repelled them both to keep the serve intact, creating four break chances and converting one in each set to oust Jan-Lennard and cross the finish line first. Struff wasted his chances in the fourth game and had to pay the price at 3-3 when his forehand landed long to send Matteo 4-3 up.
Serving for the opener, the Italian hit four winners at 5-4, building the momentum and dropping only four points on serve in set number two to mount the pressure on the other side of the net. Jan-Lennard gout out of jail in games one and three, staying in touch with Berrettini until game 11 when Matteo broke him at 15, moving 6-5 up and sealing the deal with a hold at love a few minutes later after a service winner to book the place in the fourth ATP final.
There, Matteo will face Felix Auger-Aliassime who secured the spot in the title match after receiving a withdrawal from the compatriot Milos Raonic who has been struggling with a lower back injury. This was the first tournament for Milos since Miami and despite beating Alexei Popyrin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (both in the deciding tie break) and Marton Fucsovics, he had to receive a treatment on the lower back that prevented him from playing against the young star Auger-Aliassime.
Felix is through to his third ATP final of the season and will seek the first ATP title at the age of 18, never playing the professional tournament on grass before this week! With this outcome, Auger-Aliassime's Friday's win over Dustin Brown after saving the match point has become even more important and we should get a great final between the upcoming players who have mastered grass surface after just a couple of matches on it.