Sports Mole previews Monday’s Wimbledon fourth-round match between Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini, including predictions and their head-to-head record.
World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz faces its biggest test at this year’s event Wimbledon championships when he takes on the finalist in 2021 Matthew Berrettini on Monday.
Both players have dropped just one set across their three wins to reach the fourth round stage, with those in attendance on Center Court potentially in for an epic contest.
Alcaraz, who just turned 20 two months ago, overcame a minor scare against the 25th seed Nicolas Jarry on Saturday to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive season.
The Spaniard won his first and only Grand Slam title to date at last year’s US Open before being forced to withdraw from the Australian Open earlier this year due to injury. After fighting back from a set down to level matters against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open last month, the Spaniard subsequently suffered from severe cramps, leading to an inevitable defeat.
However, he backed up his growing confidence on grass by winning at Queen’s Club last month, moving him back to the top of the ATP rankings. He is arguably yet to play at his fluid best at Wimbledon, but the underrated Jarry almost took him to a decisive fifth set at the weekend.
The Chilean was actually a break up in the fourth set before Alcaraz battled back to prevail 7-5, ensuring he came out on top in an absorbing third round that took nearly four hours on a sweltering Center Court during the closed roof.
The 20-year-old produced some excellent passing shots and delicate drop shots, but he may need to serve far more consistently if he is to progress against an even more skilled opponent on Monday.
Indeed, after a hugely frustrating 12 months or so for Berrettini, the Italian seems serious again at his favorite Grand Slam.
Having made it to the final at the All England Club two years ago, Berrettini won the opening set tie-breaker against Djokovic before the Serb battled back in contention to win his sixth Wimbledon title.
It remains the Italian’s only Grand Slam final appearance so far in his impressive career, which includes six Grand Slam quarter-final appearances in total. However, injuries have forced him to miss the past two French Open’s, while he was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon last year after testing positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the tournament.
These factors – as well as his surprising defeat in the first round to Andy Murray at the Australian Open earlier this year – has seen the Italian’s ranking plummet to 37th in the world ahead of this tournament, having reached a career high of sixth as recently as January 2022.
The 27-year-old has looked every inch a top 10 player during the first week at Wimbledon, winning nine sets in a row since losing a first-set tie-breaker against his compatriot Lorenzo Sonego in the opening round.
The 19th seed Alexander Zverev simply had no answer to the Italian’s serve in their third-round contest on Saturday, with the German forcing just one break point throughout the match, and Berrettini will be hoping that can see him through against the formidable Alcaraz.
Tournament so far
First round: vs. Jeremy Chardy 6-0 6-2 7-5
Second round: vs. Alexandre Muller 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3
Third round: vs. Nicolas Jarry 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 7-5
First round: vs. Lorenzo Sonego 6-7(5) 6-3 7-6(7) 6-3
Second round: vs. Alex de Minaur 6-3 6-4 6-4
Third round: vs. Alexander Zverev 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5)
Head to head
Vienna (2021) – Quarter Final: Alcaraz wins 6-1 6-7(2) 7-6(5)
Australian Open (2022) – Third Round: Berrettini wins 6-2 7-6(3) 4-6 2-6 7-6(5)
Rio de Janeiro (2022) – Quarter Final: Alcaraz wins 6-2 2-6 6-2
Alcaraz leads the head-to-head between these two players by two wins to one, but Berrettini won their only previous meeting at a Grand Slam event, with the Italian surviving a comeback from Alcaraz to defeat him en route to reaching the Australian Open semi-finals last year.
All three meetings have gone to a deciding set, suggesting Monday’s contest on Center Court could go the distance.
We say: Berrettini wins in five sets
While Alcaraz will understandably go into this match as favorite to advance, the Spaniard has looked a little vulnerable on his serve, which is a more important factor on grass than any other surface.
Berrettini, on the other hand, is yet to be broken at Wimbledon this year, surviving all six break points he has faced. He has the powerful forehand to cause real problems on his opponent’s second serve, and while he will almost certainly be pushed far harder on his own, we can imagine him progressing to his sixth Grand Slam quarter-final in his last seven attempts.