Matteo Berrettini aiming to kick off ‘special Sunday’ for Italy with SW19 title

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Matteo Berrettini powered his way into the Wimbledon final to set up a spectacular sporting double-header for Italy on Sunday.

The 25-year-old from Rome became the first Italian man to reach the SW19 showpiece after a 6-3 6-0 6-7 (3) 6-4 victory over Hubert Hurkacz.

The main course may be England’s date with Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening, but Berrettini will provide a tasty antipasti when he walks out on Centre Court at 2pm.

And Berrettini hopes he can provide the first half of what could prove to be a ‘Domenica speciale’, or special Sunday, for his home nation.

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“I think we deserve it. It’s great day, a great sport day. I’m really happy that together with football now we are one of the biggest sports in Italy,” he said.

“I would say buy a nice TV if you don’t have one already because I think it’s going to be a special Sunday for all of us.

“It’s something crazy to believe for us, obviously let’s say in tennis, because it never happened. So it’s something that nobody expected – me in the first place.

“Then for the football, I mean we didn’t qualify for the World Cup, so after that the job that they did, how hard they worked, the effort that they put, I think they really deserve this final.

Wimbledon 2021 – Day Eleven – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
David Beckham watched from the royal box (Adam Davy/PA)

“Obviously I’m going to think first about mine. Then, if I have the chance, I’m going to watch them.”

Certainly David Beckham, watching from the royal box, will be desperate not to sit through a similar exhibition of Italian domination at Wembley in two days’ time.

Hurkacz was the man who broke many a heart at Wimbledon on Wednesday when he knocked out eight-time champion Roger Federer, having previously accounted for second seed Daniil Medvedev.

But the Polish 14th seed was simply blown away over the first two sets as he faced the non-stop barrage that is the Berrettini serve.

Hurkacz did fashion a break point early in the opener, but the likeable 24-year-old was unable to press it home as Berrettini held for 3-3.

Wimbledon 2021 – Day Eleven – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Berrettini was congratulated by Hurkacz after the victory (Steven Paston/PA)

About half an hour and nine games later a dazed and confused Hurkacz found himself two sets down and staring at the same sort of pasting that he had handed out to Federer.

He did at least manage to make himself part of the semi-final in the third, denying Berrettini the chance to unleash his destructive forehand where possible and taking the tie-break to give the crowd, inevitably now backing the underdog, something to cheer.

But Berrettini, the Queen’s Club champion last month, immediately broke again and reached his maiden grand slam final when Hurkacz’s last return of his mammoth serve floated long.

Hurkacz said: “Matteo played an unbelievable match today. Every single service game he was serving bombs.

“I didn’t have many chances, basically probably zero. So huge congrats for him that he kept such a high level throughout the whole four sets.”

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