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Matteo Berrettini beats Andy Murray to claim Stuttgart title

The Italian missed the clay season after undergoing a minor operation on his right hand in late March but has played like he has never been away in Stuttgart, improving to 28-6 on grass.

IANS | New Delhi |

Matteo Berrettini capped his return to the ATP Tour by winning his first title of the season in Stuttgart on Sunday.

Berrettini overcame former World No. 1 Andy Murray 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the summit clash of the ATP 250 tournament. The Italian missed the clay season after undergoing a minor operation on his right hand in late March but has played like he has never been away in Stuttgart, improving to 28-6 on grass.

“It is unbelievable. It was obviously a goal [to win the title], but I thought it would be really, really tough,” Berrettini said after the match as per atptour.com. “I don’t even think I played my best tennis, but that is why I am even more proud of myself. Mentally I was really tough. I did an unbelievable job to be there. I fought hard and this means a lot.”

In a tight final, the second seed demonstrated good footwork to dictate play on his forehand, hitting with brutal power to pin Murray back and triumph after two hours and 35 minutes. With his victory, Berrettini has improved to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against the former World No. 1.

The 26-year-old now holds a perfect 9-0 record at the ATP 250 event, having won the title in his only previous appearance in Stuttgart in 2019. Berrettini also clinched the crown on grass at The Queen’s Club last year, defeating Cameron Norrie in the final in London.

The World No. 10 will aim to retain his title at the Queen’s Club Championships next week and could play record five-time champion Murray in the second round.

Murray was playing in his first tour-level singles final on grass since he lifted the trophy at Wimbledon in 2016. The Scot, who upset World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to his 10th tour-level championship match on grass, is up to No. 47 in the ATP Live Rankings.

(Inputs from IANS)