Update: Roland Garros announced on Sunday that Roger Federer has withdrawn from the tournament. Matteo Berrettini has, therefore, been given a walkover into the quarterfinals.
Date: 7 June 2021
Tournament: Roland Garros 2021
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red Clay
Prize Money: €17,171,108
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Roger Federer vs Matteo Berrettini preview
Roger Federer overcame a stiff challenge from Dominik Koepfer in the third round on Saturday to win 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 and set up a mouthwatering Round of 16 clash against Matteo Berrettini.
Federer struggled for large parts of his match against the German, often failing to hit routine serves and groundstrokes. He was also extremely wasteful in the opening set, where he squandered five break points.
A double fault from the German in the first set tie-break gave the Swiss a chance to take the lead in the match, and he did just that on his second set point.
While the first set saw zero breaks of serve, the second one witnessed four. But another tiebreaker was needed to break the deadlock, which this time went Koepfer's way.
The German then broke Roger Federer's serve to start the third set and soon set up a comfortable 4-2 lead for himself. But the Swiss won three games in a row with some remarkable returning, to take the third set to yet another tiebreaker.
A couple of unforced errors from Koepfer gave Federer a two sets to one lead, and the 39-year-old never looked back. Although the two players exchanged early breaks in the fourth set, Federer broke decisively in the 11th game to close out the match.
Overall, Roger Federer played a poor match by his standards; he struck 51 winners (four fewer than Koepfer) and committed a massive 63 unforced errors. His serve was not up to the mark either, as he won less than 70% of his points on the first serve.
His form and fitness would be a big concern for Federer ahead of the fourth round, and on Saturday the Swiss even hinted that he could withdraw from the tournament soon.
Matteo Berrettini, meanwhile, defeated Kwon Soon-woo in his third-round match. The Italian won 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-4 to make it to the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
Berrettini has been in fine form in Paris so far. He has dropped just one set (against Taro Daniel), and on Saturday he overwhelmed Kwon with some brutal power hitting.
Berrettini struck a mammoth 23 aces and hit 53 winners to put the match out of the South Korean's reach.
Roger Federer vs Matteo Berrettini head-to-head
Roger Federer leads Matteo Berrettini by a margin of 2-0 in the head-to-head. This, however, will be their first meeting on clay.
Roger Federer vs Matteo Berrettini prediction
Given that Roger Federer looked fatigued and out of form against Dominik Kopefer, Matteo Berrettini enters their fourth round match as the favorite. That said, if Federer does manage to get fit in time for the match on Monday, he is unlikely to go down without a fight.
Berrettini's powerful game works well on clay, and he would look to use his heavy forehand to target Federer's backhand. The Italian also has a very effective serve, and the match might feature a couple of tiebreaks considering that Federer is not bad with that shot either.
Since both players are so good on offense, the result will likely come down to the return of serve and defense. And that is where the younger and fresher Berrettini has a clear advantage.
Unless Federer raises his game and foot speed by a couple of notches, he might be looking at an uphill task on Monday.
Prediction: Matteo Berrettini to win in straight sets.
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