WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips for a semi-final showdown between Matteo Berrettini and bolter Hubert Hurkacz.
22:30 (AEST), Fri 9th @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 2: Hurkacz 1 V Berrettini 1
Last meeting: Miami Masters, 2019 (R128): Hurkacz 1 V Berrettini 6-4 6-3
Final Thoughts: Just 15 different players have appeared in the past 42 men’s Grand Slam finals. Either Matteo Berrettini or Hubert Hurkacz will add their name to that list at Wimbledon 2021.
Seventh seed Berrettini is the best credentialled of the pair. He has featured in one major semi-final previously, losing to Rafael Nadal at the 2019 US Open. Hurkacz, the 14th seed, had never been past the third round in a Slam and is appearing in just his 13th major.
Berrettini hinted at a deep Wimbledon run by winning the Queen’s Club Championships last month as the top seed. The 25-year-old Italian dropped a set against Guido Pella in the first round at Wimbledon before cruising to straight-sets victories over Botic van de Zandschulp, Aljaz Bedene and Ilya Ivashka.
He then overcame 16th seed Felix Auger Aliassime 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3 in the quarters.
Hurkacz bundles out big names
There was little pre-Wimbledon hype about big-serving Hurkacz. An underwhelming clay swing culminated in a first-round exit at the French Open and his losing streak extended to six matches with first-up defeats at the Stuttgart and Halle Opens.
But the 24-year-old Polish tyro powered into the last 16 with straight-sets wins over Lorenzo Musetti, Marcos Giron and Alexander Bublik. Hurkacz then stunned second seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. He clawed back from two sets to one done and winning in five.
The giant-killing spree continued with a crushing 6-3 7-6 6-0 defeat of the great Roger Federer in the quarters.
The ledger is square one win apiece between the duo. Berrettini won an Australian Open qualifying match in 2018, but Hurkacz turned the tables with a straight-sets victory in the first round of the 2019 Miami Open.
Both players are serving superbly, but Hurkacz would appear to have the slight edge in that department. Berrettini arguably boasts a better all-round game. Expect a lengthy contest with multiple tiebreaks, but after claiming two massive scalps in succession Hurkacz is well-equipped to pull off another upset.