Campo Centrale was rocking once more on Tuesday afternoon as another Italian shook up the Internazionali BNL d’Italia draw.
Rome native Matteo Berrettini did the honours on day three, upsetting No. 5 and 2017 champion Alexander Zverev 7-5, 7-5 to celebrate his first Top 5 victory in front of a rocking Roman crowd. The 23-year-old Italian, who won the Hungarian Open last month for his second ATP Tour title (Gstaad, both on clay), broke Zverev once in each set, including in the 12th game of the second, to advance to the Round of 16 at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time.
Berrettini made his Masters 1000 debut only two years ago, when he was No. 249 in the ATP Rankings. But last week, the 6’5″ right-hander reached a new career-high at No. 31 in the ATP Rankings.
“Environment was great. The match that I played was horrendous,” Zverev said.
The German was coming off a quarter-final run at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Tsitsipas), but has struggled to find his top level this season and fell to 15-10. Zverev finished 2018 with only 19 losses (58-19).
Berrettini was the second Italian to cause a stir in Rome. On Sunday, 17-year-old #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner upset American and four-time ATP Tour titlist Steve Johnson for only his second ATP Tour win and his first at the Masters 1000 level.
Berrettini, now 1-2 against Top 10 opponents, awaits the winner between Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Schwartzman swept past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4 in 73 minutes on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Portugal’s Joao Sousa saved four match points at 5-6 in the deciding set of a 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(4) victory over American Frances Tiafoe in three hours. Sousa, who also trailed 1/4 in the deciding set tie-break, will play third seed Roger Federer in the second round.