Mith Wimbledon and the roof, it’s basically like video evidence and football. Anyone who believed that discussions – in this case about game interruptions due to rain – were a thing of the past has long since been taught otherwise. Just like on Saturday when Alexander Zverev played his third round match against Italian Matteo Berrettini. It was raining, the roof was open, the lawn got wet. And then there was avid discussion about why this causal chain was even possible.
The almost hour-long game interruption could have been avoided if those responsible for the tournament had decided before the sudden downpour in the second set to close the mobile structure above Court No. 1. So the game was divided into two halves, which, however, had one crucial basic motive in common: Berrettini used his few chances with remarkable consistency, which in turn had two results. First: Zverev lost 3: 6, 6: 7 (4: 7), 6: 7 (5: 7). And secondly: Wimbledon goes into the second week of the tournament without Germans in the individual competitions.
Zverev and Berrettini had already trained together in the first days of Wimbledon. And the German said he always had the feeling he had his training partners “under control”, just not the Italian. “I’ve trained with a lot of really good players. He was the exception,” said Zverev. Why was understandable for others on Saturday.
The duel was not a match with special moments of tension. The biggest weapon for both is the serve, so there were fewer rallies. Zverev and Berrettini did their job coolly and effectively in their own service. When Zverev stumbled for the first time, Berrettini used it to break. That was enough to win the first set. When Zverev allowed a single long rally on his own serve in the tie-break, Berrettini used that to the point. That was enough to win the second set.
It is one of the peculiarities of tennis that hours of matches are sometimes decided in a few rallies. Especially when two such good servers face each other as Zverev and Berrettini. The art of winning these then distinguishes the good from the very good players. Berrettini was a very good one on Saturday, Zverev “only” a good one. “I think I played a solid match today,” said Zverev. “But he was outstanding.”
In 2021, Berrettini had reached the final at Wimbledon. But after a series of injuries, he was out of shape at the beginning of the year. Now he is the only player besides the Pole Hubert Hurkacz who hasn’t allowed a break during the tournament. “I didn’t think something like that was possible this year,” Berrettini said after the match. “But this place must have something special.” In the round of 16 he plays against the Spanish world number one Carlos Alcaraz. There are currently only a few tasks in tennis that are more difficult.