Italy’s Matteo Berrettini edges Gael Monfils at US Open for 1st Slam SF

NEW YORK — Matteo Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome, gave Italy a spot in the final four at the U.S. Open for the first time since 1977 in dramatic fashion, double-faulting away his initial match point and then needing four more to finally put away 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) after nearly four hours in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

Corrado Barazzutti, Italy’s only other male semifinalist at the U.S. Open 42 years ago, was in the stands Wednesday cheering Berrettini on.

Berrettini, who is seeded 24th, will get a day to recuperate. He will face No. 2 Rafael Nadal — who swept No. 20 Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 — in the semifinals Friday.

Nadal is trying to win a fourth U.S. Open championship and 19th major title in all, which would be just one short of Roger Federer’s record.

The other men’s semifinal that day is No. 5 Daniil Medvedev against unseeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat an injured Federer in five sets on Tuesday night to become, at No. 78, the lowest-ranked semifinalist at the U.S. Open since 1991.

Berrettini used his big forehand to produce 24 winners. He’s found an Italian restaurant he loves on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, so has been eating there throughout the tournament, and even had the owner there in his guest box, wearing a shirt festooned with the word “Carbonara.” (Berrettini’s dish of choice has been a simple pasta with olive oil and parmesan.)

After he won, then proceeded to say “Grazie!” over and over during his postmatch interview, thanking “my family at home, my mental coach — they care about me a lot.”

Women’s quarfterfinals: No. 15 Bianca Andreescu reached her first major semifinal by defeating No. 25 Elise Mertens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian, improved to 31-4 this season, including 13-3 in three-setters. She takes on No. 13 Belinda Bencic on Thursday, after the other semifinal in which Serena Williams plays No. 5 Elina Svitolina.

Bencic also reached her first Grand Slam semifinal, following up her upset of defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka by taking the last four games of a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over No. 23 Donna Vekic.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Italy-s-Matteo-Berrettini-edges-Gael-Monfils-at-14415030.php.

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