Starting the season from outside the top-50, Matteo Berrettini has had an incredible year so far, winning two ATP titles and standing among the best players with 39 wins under his belt. Today, Matteo has secured another milestone, advancing into the first Masters 1000 semi-final with a 7-6, 6-4 triumph over world no.
5 Dominic Thiem in an hour and 40 minutes. It was the second top-5 win for Matteo in a career and the one that puts him in eighth place in the ATP Race to London, moving in front of Roberto Bautista Agut together with Alexander Zverev against whom he will play for the final on Saturday.
Also, Matteo has stepped ahead of Fabio Fogini on the ATP list, becoming the Italian world no. 1 when the new chart comes out on Monday. Both Matteo and Dominic won 68 points, with only one break in the entire match and neck and neck battle from start to finish, keeping drama and excitement after what had already been an exciting day in Shanghai.
In a high-quality contest, they both had more winners than unforced errors, with nothing to separate them in the shortest and mid-range exchanges and those few points in each set that decided the winner. The opening set saw great serving on both sides, with one break chance for Thiem at 3-3 that Berrettini fended off to stay in contention, reaching a tie break that went down to the wire with 18 points.
Berrettini wasted three set points at 6-4 and 7-6, forcing an error from Dominic to repel a set point in the 16th point and closing the breaker at 9-8 when Thiem sprayed a backhand error. After six easy holds in set number two, Matteo drew a mistake from Dominic thanks to a deep return, cementing the break with a forehand winner and serving for the triumph at 5-4.
Thiem saved two match points at 15-40, earning two break opportunities but missing them both and allowing Matteo to move over the top with a forehand winner and celebrate another impressive win in a breakthrough season.