World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini admitted it wasn’t easy at all against 169th-ranked Stefan Kozlov. Berrettini, who is bidding to win his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, overcame Kozlov in four sets 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-1 to reach the Australian Open third round.
“It was a tough match. I think I started really well but then he started playing better and I wasn’t feeling my strokes after the first set, but I am happy to be through," Berrettini said in his on-court interview, per the ATP website.
"My stomach is better, but it is never easy to recover from something like that, so that is why my energy wasn’t its highest. I am really happy to win”.
Berrettini survived the Kozlov challenge
Kozlov served out the opening game of the match before Berrettini earned three breaks in a row and won six consecutive games to win the opener in style.
Kozlov bounced back from losing the first set as he broke Berrettini in the seventh game and served out for the set three games later. No breaks were seen in the third set until the 10th game, when Berrettini broke Kozlov to go up by two sets to one.
Berrettini then dominated the fourth set as he broke Kozlov twice to seal a four-set win. Berrettini plays next Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-1 7-5. “I'm really happy with the performance today.
It wasn't an easy day with all the wind," Alcaraz said. "I knew that I'd have to be really focussed on the match, really focussed on what I had to do." A few months ago in Vienna, Alcaraz beat Berrettini in three sets.
"It was a really close match... and I think I have grown up since that match. I'm going to have fun and let's see what happens,” Alcaraz reflected.