Andy Murray beaten by Matteo Berrettini in epic Stuttgart Open final

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The Scot put on a brave performance but the Italian’s power was too much in the end  (AP)
The Scot put on a brave performance but the Italian’s power was too much in the end (AP)

Andy Murray was beaten by Matteo Berrettini’s powerful performance in an epic Stuttgart Open final on Sunday.

The Italian, leaning on his heavy serve, triumphed over three sets (6-4, 5-7, 6-3) following two hours and 40 minutes of brilliant tennis on the grass of Tennis Club Weissenhof.

Murray hung in and battled back from a set to level at one apiece, before the energy-sapping conditions and lengthy rallies forced him to take two medical timeouts, with significant work applied to his left hip by a physiotherapist.

But after saving one championship point at 3-5 in the third set, the three-time grand slam champion’s backhand fell short, crashing into the net to hand Berrettini victory.

Murray, seeking his first grass-court title since 2016 and first title of any kind since 2019, produced some fine tennis throughout the match to combat his heavy-hitting opponent, who himself has battled back from surgery last year.

Matteo Berrettini in confident mood during the match on Sunday (AP)
Matteo Berrettini in confident mood during the match on Sunday (AP)

Berrettini, a champion in Stuttgart three years ago, came out on top 19-7 in the ace count across the three sets, which helped him to win 81 per cent of his first serve points compared to 66 per cent of Murray’s.

And after victory, the 26-year-old, a finalist at Wimledon last year, paid tribute to Murray: “It was really hard to digest, I felt it, Andy was able to serve well and took the chances I didn’t take, so we went to the third set. I said to myself, ‘I have to fight’.

“Congrats to Andy. It’s not the way we wanted to finish, he’s hurt, I’m sorry for him. I’ve learned so much from him.

“He’s an unbelievable fighter, I'm still learning, when I was a kid, I was watching you. It doesn't feel real now I'm here, thank you for inspiring the world.”

A disappointed Murray took the positives from the week, which included victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios

He said: “It's been an incredible week here, I really enjoyed it. The team did a fantastic job looking after the players. The fans were brilliant, we had great support, a fantastic atmosphere. Thanks to all those who came out to support us, it was really nice.

“I’d like to congratulate Matteo, he just came back from surgery, he played extremely well and fully deserved his victory, all the best in the next two weeks and the build-up to Wimbledon.

“There’s been a lot of progress the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to what the future has to hold, I’m feeling a lot better about my game. Hopefully my body can hold up a little while longer so I can keep playing matches like this.”

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