Cameron Norrie’s bid to become king of the Queen’s Club was finished in three sets by Matteo Berrettini in the final of the Cinch Championships.
Norrie, 25, aspired to become the second Briton to win at Queen’s, after Andy Murray, since World War II. But Berrettini, world No. 9 and top seed, proved too strong in a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 win that made him the first rookie to triumph at Queen’s since Boris Becker in 1985. , who went on to win Wimbledon a couple of weeks later.
It was Norrie’s third loss in a final this year. “All credit to Matteo and his team,” he said. “A great week for you and too good today. I really enjoyed my tennis here and if you had told me before the tour, I would have made it to the final. It’s great to have tennis in the UK, in London and on the grass. “
Berrettini had already become the destroyer of British hopes in West London having taken into account Murray and Dan Evans with booming services regularly hitting 140mph. The key for Norrie was to do the business on his own serve and then hope to get a shot or two with Berrettini, or hit in the tie-break.
It was a major setback, then, when two double faults gave the Italian a break in the first set, which he went on to take with another unrecoverable serve. Norrie saved two break points before going 5-4 in the second and envisioned an opening at 6-5, 15-30 on Berrettini’s serve, but it quickly faded.
However, in the tie-break the plan worked perfectly, Norrie achieved the mini-break, accumulated three set points and took the third with the service when Berrettini launched a long backhand. Norrie dodged two more break points at 2-3 in the decider, but in his next service game he lost a 40-0 lead, scoring weakly to give Berrettini a shot at serving for the championship.
Berrettini had won all 45 of his previous service games this week, reaching 46 to love his fifth ATP title and the biggest of his career.
Norrie can take comfort in a £ 72,000 payday and a rise in the rankings from 41 to 34, which should be enough to see him among the seeded at Wimbledon.
“Obviously it’s special to be seeded at Wimbledon,” Norrie said. “Obviously I am disappointed that I did not get the title, but we will continue to push for more and hope there are many more opportunities to come.”
Berrettini, the first Italian to claim the title of Reina, said: “It has been an incredible week and to think of the name Boris Becker and my name is crazy. I’ve been watching the tournament since I was a kid and winning it is a dream come true. Cam is a great player and this year he has shown how he can play on all surfaces. He’s had a great week and I’m sure he’ll win a title soon. “
Great Britain was successful when Gordon Reid won the wheelchair singles final 6-2 6-2 against Argentine Gustavo Fernández.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism