Italy bounced back from their surprising loss to Australia on Tuesday night to easily
account for France on Day 4 of the ATP Cup at Qudos Bank Arena.
World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini was able to put the disappointment of his loss to Alex de Minaur behind him to seal the tie for Italy in an impressive 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
Humbert struggled to replicate his heroics from Tuesday where he defeated World No. 2, Daniil Medvedev.
Berrettini’s serve was causing Humbert problems throughout the contest with Berrettini firing down 18 aces and just the two double faults.
Post-match, Berrettini was very pleased with his much-improved performance.
"(It was) a really tough match, especially in these conditions. He's a great server, a tricky player, lefty. I had to play my best tennis in the important moments to win the match," Berrettini said.
"I'm really happy [with] my performance. I need to play matches as much as possible, so I'm happy."
In the ties opening match, Jannik Sinner continued his fine start to 2022 with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Arthur Rinderknech in just over an hour and a half. Sinner overcame a 0-2 deficit in the second set to prevail in a hard-fought second set tiebreak.
"It's never easy playing against him, it was the third time already. The first set I was under control. In the second set, I dropped a little bit of intensity. He is serving very well, so I was in trouble," Sinner said post-match.
"But fortunately, I found a way."
While happy with his performances so far, Sinner knows he needs to improve to take his game to the next level.
“In the top level there are just little things you have to improve but you have to do everything better and we are trying to do that and obviously I have to improve my serve,” Sinner said.
Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini teamed up to defeat the French pairing of Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Fabrice Martin in a tight three-set encounter 6-3, 6-7(7), 10-8 in the match tiebreak.
In the day’s other tie, Germany recorded their first win of the ATP Cup with a 2-1 win over the USA on Ken Roswell Arena
Jan-Lennard Struff upset American John Isner 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-5 in just under three hours in a clash of two of the biggest servers in the game.
With breaks of serve a rarity throughout the match, Struff was able to gain a match-winning break of serve in the twelfth game of the set to record an unlikely victory.
In the first set tiebreak, Isner gifted Struff the set with a double fault on set point.
Struff was thrilled to finally get a win over Isner after losing their previous four encounters.
“It’s always tough against John,” Struff said.
“I had played him four times before and lost four times. So, I’m very happy to get the win for my team today.
“It’s not just his own serve that makes it tough. You have to focus on your own serve because if you get broken it’s very tough to come back. I was very happy how I played and competed.”
In the second match of the day, World No. 3 Alexander Zverev needed six match points to defeat rising American star Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4. Zverev needed one breakpoint in each set to prevail in a tight contest.
After struggling in the first two years of the ATP Cup, Zverev is pleased to have won his opening two matches in 2022.
“Until the last game it was a good level for my second match of the year,” Zverev said.
“It was very intense and hard-hitting. The most important thing is that Team Germany won, and we have given ourselves the best chance of reaching the semis.”
In the doubles, Taylor Fritz and John Isner were far too strong for the German pairing of Tim Peutz and Kevin Krawietz, easing to a 6-0, 6-3 win.
Both nations face must win their respective final ties to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.