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US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini preview, head-to-head & prediction

Novak Djokovic is going for the Calendar Slam at the US Open this year
Novak Djokovic is going for the Calendar Slam at the US Open this year
Rudra Biswas
ANALYST

Match details

Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (6) Matteo Berrettini

Date: 8 September 2021

Tournament: 2021 US Open

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $40,560,000

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP

Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini preview

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take on familiar foe Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round of the 2021 US Open. The Serb hasn't reached the semifinals at the New York Major since 2018, and will be hoping to end that barren run with a fine performance on Wednesday.

Djokovic is bidding to win a record-breaking 21st Major title and the elusive Calendar Year Grand Slam in New York this year. The Serb has defeated quality opposition during the first week of the tournament - Jenson Brooksby, Kei Nishikori, Tallon Griekspoor and Holger Rune - to reach the last eight.

Djokovic, however, had to fend off an almighty scare in his last match against Brooksby, where he dropped his serve in the first set twice en route to getting breadsticked by the 20-year-old. But the World No. 1 put in a more confident display from the second set onwards, eventually registering a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Notably, Djokovic is now on a 25-match winning streak at the Majors. The Serb will next face Matteo Berrettini, whom he has already defeated twice this year - at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Matteo Berrettini prepares for a forehand at the 2021 US Open
Matteo Berrettini prepares for a forehand at the 2021 US Open

Berrettini has accumulated a stunning 33-8 win-loss record on the ATP tour in 2021. The highlights of his season include a title run at Queen's Club as well as a maiden Major final appearance, at Wimbledon (where he lost to Djokovic himself).

That said, Berrettini has been made to work hard during his US Open campaign so far. The Italian, who sustained a thigh injury a few weeks ago, eked out a five-set win over the in-form Ilya Ivashka in the third round, before beating qualifier Oscar Otte in four sets on Monday.

This will be the second career quarterfinal appearance for Berrettini at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini head-to-head

Novak Djokovic leads Matteo Berrettini in their head-to-head by a margin of 3-0. The pair's first meeting came at the 2019 ATP Finals, where Djokovic won for the loss of just three games.

It is also pertinent to note that this will be the duo's first match on an outdoor hardcourt.

Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini head-to-head

Needless to say, Novak Djokovic will have to be at his best when he takes on Matteo Berrettini. The Serb initially didn't fare too well on his return of serve against Jenson Brooksby on Monday, but was able to get better as the match wore on.

Djokovic will also be banking on his clutch serve, which bailed him out of trouble quite a few times during his four-set wins in the last two rounds.

Berrettini, on the other hand, has been using the 'serve +1' strategy to perfection throughout the season. The 6'6" Italian has shown good feel at the net too, which might help him in shortening the rallies against Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic reacts during his fourth-round match against Jenson Brooksby at the 2021 US Open
Novak Djokovic reacts during his fourth-round match against Jenson Brooksby at the 2021 US Open

The Serb has looked a little more vulnerable this week as opposed to the last three Grand Slams, where he had nothing to lose. Djokovic has lost two matches since his Wimbledon title, and seems to be getting more agitated with each passing match.

The World No. 1 is the clear favorite in this match on paper. But if he shows any cracks in his armor, Berrettini might be able to spring an upset.

Prediction: Matteo Berrettini to win in five sets.


Edited by Musab Abid
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