The first quarterfinal is locked in Vienna. Third seed Matteo Berrettini will face world No. 42 Carlos Alcaraz, who put out wild card Andy Murray, for a place in the semifinals.
World number seven Matteo Berrettini closed out the third day of intense competition at the Erste Bank Open with a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals.
The Italian, who secured his spot in the Nitto ATP Finals early this week, will play Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz for the first time at tour-level on Friday.
On Wednesday, the 18-year-old earned revenge against former world number one Andy Murray in a highly competitive two-hour, six-minute match.
Alcaraz edged his adversary in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, advancing to the quarterfinal stages of the Austrian tournament.
Early this month, Murray outlasted the young Spanish star in Indian Wells after a hard-fought battle first meeting, which saw the Briton advancing to the third round with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
After their rematch in Vienna, Alcaraz commented: “Indian Wells was the first time that I met Andy Murray on court, and now I knew a little bit more (about) Andy Murray, so I just knew his game, how to play. I was just trying to play aggressive, not let him play his game.”
The 2021 Croatia Open Umag champion strategy paid off; next, he will face the 25-year-old, who is coming off a solid performance against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili.
The Roman native rallied past the Georgian player in two hours and five minutes, coming back from a set down, displaying all his serving power, hitting 22 aces.
The five-time ATP titlist recorded one double fault to four from his rival, winning 82 percent of his first-service points and 59 percent on his second serve.
Moreover, on Monday, he became the sixth player to book a place in the 2021 season-ending event, the Nitto ATP Finals, which features the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams.
After discovering he had qualified for the Finals, Berrettini said: “My words aren’t going to describe the happiness I feel in my heart.”
Adding: “2020 was a tough year for me on and off the court. Here I am about to play my second (Nitto ATP) Finals, and I can’t believe it. I always have to remember where I started. I didn’t dream about this, because it was so big, but now it’s happening. I want to do my best.
“I really cannot describe how happy I am. I hope the country is really proud of me.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, German Alexander Zverev, and Russian Andrey Rublev have also qualified to the Finals; only two spots remain available in the Race to Turin with another Italian, 20-year-old Jannik Sinner, in contention.
The venue’s first edition at Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy, will be held from 14-21 November.