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Matteo Berrettini and Medvedev’s shadow

Matt Zemek

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Geoff Burke -- USA TODAY Sports

Matteo Berrettini just keeps putting in good work on the ATP Tour.

He didn’t beat Dominic Thiem in Vienna on Saturday, losing in an ATP 500 semifinal. However, he gave Thiem a good run in what was a true road match. Having beaten Thiem in Shanghai, it would have been easy for Berrettini to be complacent or satisfied and not deliver a focused performance on Saturday.

Yes, he is chasing a spot in London. However, the Bercy (Paris) Masters are where Berrettini really has to deliver the goods. Berrettini already knew his closest pursuer for London, Roberto Bautista-Agut, had lost in Basel (on Friday to Reilly Opelka). There was certainly an argument to make that Berrettini didn’t have to go all-out against Thiem.

Yet, he did… and he almost won.

Berrettini simply refuses to fall into a rut young players often encounter after making the kind of breakthrough the Italian attained at the U.S. Open, when he made the semifinals and gave Rafael Nadal a very tough first set.

Berrettini did well in Shanghai, reaching a Masters semi. He has done well in Vienna. He is so close to making his first ATP Finals and stamping himself as a player to watch in 2020. He already IS, but making the ATP Finals would confer more legitimacy on Berrettini.

Leaving Vienna, we have to confront this basic reality: If Daniil Medvedev wasn’t lighting up the ATP Tour to the extent that he is, a lot more of us would be discussing Berrettini. Medvedev has necessarily occupied so much of the conversation among players under 25 years old.

Berrettini might be deriving a benefit from living in Medvedev’s shadow. That said, Berrettini would love to be the man who casts the shadows over Medvedev in 2020, instead of living in them.

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Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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