Berrettini stops in the quarterfinals in the Phoenix Challenger

The Roman gives in three sets 6-4 3-6 6-3 with the qualified Shevchenko playing a match very far from his standards

No semifinal for Matteo Berrettini at Challenger 175 in Phoenix. The Roman, seeded number one in the tournament, lost in the quarterfinals against the Russian Alexander Shevchenko in three sets (6-4 3-6 6-3), unfortunately demonstrating once again that the way back to the player who was is really very long. For heaven’s sake, Shevchenko, 22, is one of those players who is demonstrating good form in 2023 (he led Hurckacz to the third set in Dubai, only losing in the tie break) but he’s still number 132 in the world with few games level behind and under normal conditions against Berrettini there would not even have been a shadow of a match. Matteo, however, is trying to put matches in his legs, and after the certainly not exciting performances against Bellucci and Vukic, a player with the slightest bit more ball was enough to defeat him.

The match

In the first set the break in favor of the Russian arrived at 3-3, after a bloody double fault by Matteo at 15-30 and a subsequent forehand error which allowed Shevchenko to move up to 4-3, then keeping the advantage until at 6-4, with a break point canceled out for Berrettini at 5-4. In the second set there was a reaction of pride from the Roman, who after annulling three break points from his opponent managed to snatch the serve from the 22-year-old from Rostov at 4-3 (the only time in the match) to then close the fraction on 6-3. At that moment Matteo seemed in control, even on the wings of enthusiasm, so to speak, but it didn’t last long. At 2-1 in favor of him, Shevchenko broke Berrettini again and there the match sadly ended. The former blue top ten player played a confused match: he fought, but was almost never aggressive, too far from the baseline by his standards, with a bad exit from his serve and a general slowness not like him. In short, the Phoenix Challenger did indeed give Berrettini games and minutes but also clearly certified the current level of the Roman, who will now go to Miami hoping for a recovery that still seems far away.