Matteo Berrettini of Italy plays a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their singles tennis match at the Queen’s Club tournament in London, Thursday, June 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
- No. 1 seed Matteo Berrettini and No. 4 Alex de Minaur meet Saturday in London (not before 8:00 am EDT)
- After missing time early in the year because of injury, Berrettini is coming on strong heading into Wimbledon
- Berrettini should be a stronger favorite than the early odds, given his serve. We break it down below
This is Matteo Berrettini’s first grass-court event of the season.
But the last time there was a grass-court season in 2019, he went 11-2 including a title in Stuttgart, a semifinal in Halle and to the second week of Wimbledon.
Matteo Berrettini vs Alex de Minaur Odds
| Matteo Berrettini (ITA)||-2.5 (-114)||-200||O 23.5 (+104)|
| Alex de Minaur (AUS)||+2.5 (+110)||+160||U 23.5 (-129)|
Odds as of June 18 at DraftKings
Despite being from Italy and brought up on clay, Berrettini’s winning percentage on grass is identical (on a smaller sample size) to his clay-court stats. In both cases, he holds serve at a high-80s percentage clip.
Alex de Minaur is an Aussie of Spanish descent who lives and trains in Spain. But he’s surprisingly sub-par on clay and only so-so on grass, with a career 7-8 record.
Despite being a quality returner, it’s his worst surface in terms of success in breaking serve (which is not unusual). On Saturday, he’ll face an opponent who has been serving bombs all week.
UEFA Euro 2020 Odds Tracker
The field at Queen’s Club is weaker than in Halle and he had a good draw. But it’s still a good effort for the Aussie.
Last week in Stuttgart, de Minaur defeated fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson his opener, but fell to No. 142-ranked Austrian wild card Jurij Rodionov in a third-set tiebreak in his next match.
He went 2-3 on grass during the 2019 season. In 2018, he won a lot – he went 15-4 overall. But nine of those wins came at the Challenger level.
Matteo Berrettini vs Alex de Minaur Match History (0-1)
|2017||Segovia Challenger (SF)||Outdoor Hard||7-6 (4), 7-5||De Minaur|
Very Little Prior History
Berrettini and de Minaur have never met at the ATP Tour level.
Their only clash came four years ago on a hard-court Challenger in Segovia, Spain, won by de Minaur. The Aussie, then just 18, was ranked No. 217 at the time; Berrettini, already 21, was only ranked No. 170.
Things have changed quite a bit for both.
Matteo Berrettini vs Alex de Minaur Head-to-Head
|25 (April 12, 1996)||Age||22 (Feb. 17, 1999)|
|Rome, Italy||Birthplace||Sydney, Australia|
|4||Career ATP Singles Titles||4|
|No. 8 (Nov. 4, 2019)||Career High Ranking||No. 18 (Oct. 28, 2019)|
|No. 9||Current Ranking||No. 22|
|$6,374,205||Career Prize Money||$5,122,682|
|24-6||2021 Won/Loss record||16-12|
|0||Career ATP Head to Head||0|
Big Serve vs Dogged Return
Berrettini is in some all-time distinguished company in terms of his serving statistics on grass (albeit, to be fair, with smaller sample sizes).
De Minaur’s numbers as a grass-court returner don’t stand out. But he will get his opportunities.
Berrettini averaged 14 aces per match in straight-sets wins over Stefano Travaglia, Andy Murray and Dan Evans this week. He won 82-percent of points on his first serve, although he was broken twice by Travaglia; Murray and Evans couldn’t manage to break his serve.
De Minaur created 33 break points in three matches (two of them three-setters) against some excellent servers, including 13 against Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. But he was only able to convert two of those opportunities against Cilic. He’ll need to do a lot better than that.
Both players had to wait out a long day of rain Friday. They may have to hustle to get their match in Saturday with more showers in the forecast.
This is not a drill. Players are about to walk onto court! 😊😊😊
Centre: 🇮🇹 Berrettini vs Evans 🇬🇧
Court 1: 🇦🇺 De Minaur vs Cilic 🇭🇷
LET’S DO THIS!#cinchChampionships pic.twitter.com/5L8IdZHR23
— cinch Championships (@QueensTennis) June 18, 2021
Berrettini Sometimes Stalls at Final Four Stage
Despite his four career titles, Berrettini is only so-so at the semifinal stage; he’s 7-5 in his career.
Conversely, de Minaur is 9-3 in his career when he’s trying to reach an ATP Tour final. Of those nine, he’s also won four.
It’s surprising the pre-match odds are as close as they are. They’re nearly identical to the Félix Auger-Aliassime vs Ugo Humbert semifinal matchup in Halle, which sets up to be a fair bit closer.
Berrettini has shown that with the big serve, and some impressive big-man touch around the net, he’s the superior grass-court player here by a fair margin.
Best Bet: Berrettini in two sets (+138)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.