Shanghai Showdown 2019: Berrettini 7-6 6-4 Thiem

Matteo Berrettini had an incredible breakthrough season in 2019, the Italian rose to the occasion, took and created opportunities and sealed some big wins in a year which I described as a learning curve.

One of which was a 7-6 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem in Shanghai.

I thought the performance was very clever from Matteo in particular, I did think Thiem did some things well but others left me slightly confused. 

This was Matteo’s breakthrough year but you should know who your facing so I was surprised to see Dominic Thiem this high up the baseline to return the first serve. 

DT R v MB
image credit – ATP

I didn’t get it, the ball was returned short and you didn’t need to see too much of Matteo before to know he will happily walk into that inside out forehand.

3 shots and 10 seconds later were here…

DT too depp
image credit – ATP

Dominic is scrambling as Matteo is bossing with the forehand and the Austrian puts it into the net. Just look at how far his left foot is from the baseline. This position even if he hooked the backhand back over the net is unassailable.

Thiem did mix up his return as the match went on and it gave him a better chance but once again the Italian found more ways to break him down.

The two handed backhand is regarded as probably the weaker of the three shots out of backhand, forehand and serve for Matteo but he emphasised in that first game his ability to change speed and direction.

Thiem and Matteo were having a neutral slice backhand rally but then the Italian pulled out the two hander and that was that.

MB BHimage credit – ATP

You can see the two lines next to Thiem, because of the change of direction of the rally and the speed of the backhand Thiem can’t just wonder across the baseline but instead has to retreat and try to cover but the backhand had too much on it. 

Throughout the match the performance and the level from Matteo was punishing.

Dominic Thiem likes to retreat behind the baseline as we know but over the course of the match just couldn’t recover.

MB FH ININ
image credit – ATP

Thiem stood strong when Matteo was striking the forehand but he just peppers away and then pulls the forehand inside-in to that open court position leaving Thiem stranded at the other side of the court.

Shanghai an especially 2019 has seen some memorable performances over the years and this was by far one of my favourites!

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