Andy Murray exits the 2022 US Open in the third round against Matteo Berrettini

NEW YORK — Matteo Berrettini ended Andy Murray’s run at the US Open when he beat Arthur Ashe in four sets in the third round on Friday.

On a sizzling hot day at Arthur Ashe, Berrettini’s precision serve and deft drop shots propelled the Italian 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3 in 3 hours and 47 minutes. The loss ended Murray’s hopes of reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2017.

“I served pretty badly for a lot of the game, which hurt me a lot,” Murray said. “I held up really well in the third set and, you know, I could see from the stats and things that were coming my way that when I got into rallies, I was comfortably passing those rallies than, you know , I got over the first few shots. “He served extremely well, got a lot of free points on his serve. I didn’t. That was the difference.”

Murray went into this match after opening victories over Francisco Cerundolo and Emilio Nava, while Berrettini had defeated Nicolas Jarry in straight sets and needed four to get past Hugo Grenier.

But in the midday New York sun, it was Berrettini who secured the only break of serve in the first set, which Murray conceded from a double fault. The two traded early in the second break, but it was Berrettini’s break in game nine – again when Murray lost the break point with a double fault – that allowed the 2021 Wimbledon finalist to serve. Murray was visibly frustrated with the move as he threw his racquet towards his seat before then smacking his bag with the racquet.

Berrettini’s drop shots caused all sorts of problems for Murray, but the third held serve in the early stages but was stopped in the fourth game because a spectator needed medical attention. At this point, Berrettini had a break point, but after a delay in proceedings, Murray made the game deuce and held serve. Both held serve until the tie break, which Murray dominated and won 7-1.

Murray broke Berrettini first in game four, only for the Italian to break back in the next game. But the defining moment came in game eight when Berrettini forced two break points and a poor backhand from Murray found the net to give Berrettini a chance to serve for the match. He gave himself two match points and converted the first time he asked when he put down a serve that Murray could only get a bat on.

“I have metal hips,” Murray said afterwards. “It’s not easy to play with. It’s really difficult. I’m surprised I’m still able to compete with guys who are at the top of the game.

“Matches like this, you know, I’m really proud that I’ve worked my way into a position where I’m able to do that. I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get over the line today. But you know “, I’m reminded that this is the first time you’ve made it to the third round here since 2016. It’s been six years. It’s been a difficult six years for me. It’s been really tough.

“Although it’s the first time I’ve only managed the third lap here, I’m really proud of the effort I’ve made to get myself back into those positions. So I hope that in the future I can go further, but considering I did everything right.” “I think I’m improving this year. You know, my rankings, I don’t even know what I was at the beginning of the year, but I’m around 40 in the world now and still tough. I want to push and see how far I can go.

“This will be motivating for me and interesting to watch because a lot of people have told me I can’t play anymore and a lot of people have told me I can hit tennis balls but I can’t compete professionally anymore. That was nonsense and I want to see how close I can get back to the top of the game.”

This was the fourth meeting between Murray and Berrettini, with Murray winning in Beijing in 2019 and Berrettini taking bragging rights in 2021 at the Queen’s Club. Their last game came earlier this year in Stuttgart in June, where Berrettini won 6-4 5-7 6-3.

The defeat ends Murray’s Grand Slam calendar this year, in which he reached the second round of the Australian Open while deciding to retire from Roland Garros to focus on the grass court season. But at Wimbledon his campaign ended in the second round when he suffered a loss to John Isner.

Berrettini had a turbulent year. After reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, he was sidelined for the French Open with a hand injury while contracting COVID-19 in the build-up to Wimbledon, which ruled him out of the championship. But he is now in the fourth round of the US Open where he will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

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