US Open Fourth Round Preview Andrey Rublev Vs Matteo Berrettini
There are many strands of competition on the ATP tour- the first one, in that it is done on the biggest stages in front of the largest audiences, is between the Big 3 and their few competitors. The second is among the next in line, the players who once that strand has dissolved will replace them.
Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini’s fourth round US Open match belongs in the second strand. Aged 21 and 23 respectively, these two will be hitting their prime, and I mean prime in the old fashioned way, 24-27 years of age, when the Big 3 have hung up their rackets or father time has called enough, whichever comes first.
Rublev has plenty of pedigree- a one time Junior world No.1 and a 2017 quarter finalist in New York who, on his way to the last 8, dismantled Grigor Dimitrov when the Bulgarian was still a prospect.
Berrettini has not been on the radar for as long as Rublev, only really breaking out this Spring, winning in Munich and reaching the Wimbledon fourth round.
In both men’s deepest slam runs they were dismissed by none other than Nadal (Rublev) and Federer, their inexperience exposed.
In this contest, though Berrettini is the seeded one (24), Rublev is the slight favorite due to a larger slew of big wins behind him. Beating Tsitsipas and Kyrgios in highly charged matches on his way to this stage plus the memories of his ’17 win also tip the match in his favor.
Match up wise, they are 1 apiece, both winning their matches in straights, Rublev this year in Marseille on indoor hard and Berrettini last year in Gstaad on Clay.
Which one, hard or clay, the US Open plays like is different depending on who you talk to. But it seems, once again, a little slow.
Slow works for both men. Rublev has the aggression and ball striking to hit through all surfaces, Berrettini has the baseline skills and willingness to work his way up the court that works on all surfaces, too.
Who to pick? I’m going with Rublev. He’s playing very well this Summer and seems on a mission. The US Open is proving to be his stand out slam, too, and players of his caliber often play their best at the slam at which they break out so I think he’ll bring something special to this one.
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