Matteo Berrettini arrived in Budapest on a five-match tour-level losing streak. But the Italian is leaving with his second ATP Tour title.
Berrettini defeated qualifier Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the Hungarian Open. His aggressive play from the baseline slowly wore down Krajinovic's defences, dropping his racquet to the red clay in celebration after one hour and 41 minutes.
"It was a really tough match. The conditions [were tough], it was cold and windy. The balls were moving a lot. So I was really focused on my game," Berrettini said. "After the first set I just told myself to fight game after game, point after point and I'm really happy because it was really difficult."
Outside of one hiccup in the opening set, Berrettini set the tone for the match with his serve, winning 81 per cent of his service points. The victory will send the 23-year-old to a career-high ATP Ranking inside the Top 40 on Monday.
The Italian won 15 of his first 16 service points in the match. But one sloppy game against the solid Krajinovic was enough to allow the Serbian to win the opening set. However, Berrettini held the match on his racquet, dictating from the baseline with his forehand, while also throwing in a number of drop shots to keep Krajinovic thinking.
Berrettini did not let slip his momentum in the third set, playing aggressive tennis while maintaining consistency, as Krajinovic began to make more mistakes. The Italian won 10 of the final 12 games and captured 59 per cent of his return points in the decider, breaking three times in the third set.
"I was winning not too much and I think the key was my serve. I improved a lot my backhand. Those were the keys," Berrettini said. "My forehand, especially on the clay, is a good weapon. Today was a great day for my forehand. But during the tournament my backhand and my serve helped me a lot."
Berrettini leaves Hungary with €90,390 in prize money and 250 ATP Ranking points, while Krajinovic adds 150 points and €48,870.
Krajinovic fell just short on his second chance to win his maiden ATP Tour title. The 27-year-old Serbian reached his first final two years ago at the Rolex Paris Masters. He struggled with injuries in 2018, but Krajinovic’s efforts this week will send him back into the Top 100.
"He deserved to win, so I'm happy for him," Krajinovic said. "It's been a great week for me coming through qualies, now into the final. I'm going home happy."