Andy Murray out of US Open after four-set defeat by Matteo Berrettini

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Andy Murray’s mini-revival came to an end at the hands of Matteo Berrettini, a statuesque Italian who owns one of the most intimidating serve/forehand combinations in the game. But despite his four-set defeat – which occupied the best part of four hours – Murray insisted that he is still improving all the time, and expressed pride that he was able to push last year’s Wimbledon finalist so close.

“I’m surprised I’m still able to compete with guys that are right up at the top of the game,” said Murray after this 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 reverse. “I get reminded that ‘this is the first time you’ve made the third round here since 2016.’ It’s been a difficult six years for me [so] I’m really proud of that effort that I put in to get myself back into these positions.

“I want to be doing better, but I’m still right there. In the last couple of weeks, I didn’t win the matches against Cam [Norrie, in Cincinnati] and against Berrettini, but it was pretty close. I think I’m improving this year. I’m now around 40-ish in the world and still going hard. I want to push and see how far I can go, because lots of people told me I wouldn’t be able to play again. That was nonsense, and I want to see how close I can get back to the top of the game.”

Murray fans will feel a sense of frustration that he didn’t take advantage of a break point at 3-3 in the fourth set. That would have given him a clear shot at one of his patented five-set comebacks. Instead, he dropped his own serve in the next game and the match was effectively over.

Yet there was still much to admire in the way Murray hit back at the end of the third set. The way he celebrated one hard-earned service hold, you might have thought he had won the title. Here was clear proof that he had mastered the cramping issue that dogged him through most of the American swing. “If this was 12 months ago, I would have got probably progressively worse as the matches went on,” he said afterwards. “Whereas I felt like I started to feel better with each match that I played. That was really positive.”

Murray was always scrambling for purchase in this contest, because he was up against an alarming power differential. In the opening set, in particular, it felt as if he were taking a Morris Minor out for a spin on a Formula One track.

Berrettini doesn’t like to spend too much time on his tennis. If he is serving, a single shot is often enough. On the odd occasions when you manage to bunt the ball back, the follow-up punch – usually a forehand into the open court – is almost sadistic in its brutality.

Murray knew that if he could extend the rallies, and make Berrettini drag his muscular, movie-star body around the court, then he could have some joy. And the stats confirmed it. As soon as the shot-count moved past five, Murray won 60 per cent of the rallies.

Unfortunately, Berrettini was inflicting so many quick kills that these chess-like longer exchanges were of no more than academic interest – a mildly diverting subplot in an 18-certificate action movie.

As he dealt out haymaker after haymaker, Berrettini felt like a tennis-playing Jack Reacher – the oversized hero who features in a series of airport thrillers, and whose fight scenes invariably turn into bloodbaths.

Murray tried all he could think of to master the Italian serve. He stood in close. He dropped back deep. He blocked and chipped for all he was worth. And yet he still wound up feeling like a coconut in a fairground shy, as balls flew past at up to 136mph.

Murray has always had a reputation for defusing big server, but returning these exocets takes a rare combination of explosive movement, mind-reading, and utter confidence in your own reflexes. Somewhere along the line, Murray’s razor-sharp returning has lost some of its edge. And if you look down the list of defeats he has suffered in recent weeks – John Isner at Wimbledon, followed by Alexander Bublik and Taylor Fritz – you can see the same type of big servers he used to intimidate.

“I’m just not quite capable of the sort of movement and physicality that I was five, six years ago,” said Murray, who is nevertheless exceeding every expectation of what might be possible for a player equipped with a metal hip.

“If you watch Rafa and Novak moving around the court now, who are similar age, I think they’re moving pretty similar to how they were five, six years ago, whereas for me there’s obviously been a bit of a drop-off there. But there is nothing that is stopping me from hitting the same shots as I did before.”

Murray vs Berrettini as it happened
Matteo Berrettini speaks…..
“I needed to learn from the past to get over that third set. Andy played a great third set there but I felt pretty good. I always knew I’d have my chances in the fourth set and I’m happy I was able to take them. I just kept telling myself it’s normal to get tight. It shows that we care in big tournaments like this.”

Spirited but not enough
Fair play to Murray, who didn’t have his best stuff for much of the match but in the end Berrettini’s big serve and powerful forehand pushed him over the line.

The Italian showed flashes of the sort of talent that could make him a big threat in this tournament but he’ll have to be better on the big points if he really wants to challenge.

Matteo Berrettini beats Andy Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 3-6
Can Berrettini hold his nerve now? He’s shown that particular attribute to be fragile thus far.

But he’s at 30-15 in this game now and just two points from victory.

Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 3-5 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Both players are showing signs of tightness as they exchange poor unforced errors. Murray then adds another to his tally, missing a rudimentary backhand volley that he could and should have made.

And there’s more trouble for Murray now as Berrettini does well to stay in the rally before a bizarre slice forehand from Murray gives the Italian the chance to take the point with ease.

Will Berrettini finally take his chance? YES! He’ll serve for the match

Murray* 4-6 4-6 7-6 3-4 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
The Italian gets to 30-0 but then a mid-court forehand misses the mark.

Murray then cranks up the pressure bringing us the 30-30. How’s Berrettini’s nerve?

Looks ok for now as he responds with a big ace but then another unforced forehand error brings us to deuce!

And now there’s break points for Murray but Berrettini fights back with a big forehand. Could Murray have done better with the slice? He thinks so. We’re back to deuce.

Oh and that’s a loose forehand from Murray off a middling Berrettini serve and the Italian takes full advantage to escape with the game.

Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 3-3 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray’s is looking far more loose – in a good way – as this match wears on.

His serves and groundstrokes seem to have more bite as he races to 30-0 in this service game.

Berrettini fights back though and back-to-back points bring us back to 30-30. The quality and intensity of this match is only increasing.

Murray staves off any jitters with a 127mph first serve and holds.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 7-6 2-3 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini’s inconsistency continues as forehand errors mix with moments of extraordinary power on serve.

It feels like he’s the one that’s having to fight now but the Italian does well to get to 40-15 as a cute slice backhand down the line brings the Murray error.

Murray then misses on his return. Game Berrettini.

Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 2-2 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
The first-serve woes that plagued Murray early in the match have relented a little – his previous service game notwithstanding.

A nice one-two punch behind his first serve gets him to 40-15 before a loose Berrettini forehand gives Murray the game.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 7-6 1-2 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray might live to regret that last game as Berrettini gets to 40-15 without much fuss.

The Scot gets a point back but Berrettini is taking no chances and produces a big forehand followed by a deft volley at the net.

Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 1-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Uh-oh. Murray looks to give the initiative right back to the Italian and faces 0-40 out of nowhere.

He then misses an easy forehand to give, actually give, Berrettini a break back.

Poor from the Scot.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 7-6 1-0 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray’s looking to put early pressure here at the start of the fourth and get Berrettini on the backfoot at 15-30.

A stinging slingshot of a forehand then gets the Scot out of trouble and that’s two break points.

He only needs one though and it’s a HUGE early break for Murray.

Berrettini look very, very, very, very tight on all these big points.

Murray 4-6 4-6 7-6 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
The rally of the match opens the tie break and Berrettini takes the mini break on Murray’s serve with a HUGE forehand down the line.

But there’s that tightness again! The Italian misses an easy forehand on the back of a huge serve before another easy miss puts Murray 2-1 up.

Murray then takes full advantage to push on to 4-1 in the tie break. He’s fully in the driving seat now.

The crowd at the Arthur Ashe roar as Murray takes us to the change of ends at 5-1. We’re two Murray pointS from a fourth set.

Make that one. A Berrettini slice can’t find the mark and Murray has set points, loads of them.

AND BANG. We’re going to a fourth set.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 6-6 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini on serve and Berrettini returning are chalk and cheese at present. Huge serves followed by even bigger forehands put Murray down 40-15.

Excellent from the Scot though, who steps in on Berrettini’s second serve and forces the error. Then a forehand error from Berrettini and we’re back to deuce.

A big ace follows though and Berrettini then holds. However, the Italian looks a little tight heading into the tie break.

Murray 4-6 4-6 6-5 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Berrettini ups the tempo with a big forehand followed by an excellent slice which bamboozles Murray at the net.

He’s at 15-30 again on the Murray serve and now has two break points after more heavy hitting sees Murray go long on a forehand.

Can Murray wriggle out of 15-40 again?

That’s one back thanks to a big serve and then another! Berrettini misses an easy forehand off a net cord and we’re back to deuce. Seven break points missed for the Italian.

But he’s got another now after a double fault from Murray. He’s asking for another life here. Can he save break point number eight?

Yes! And now he takes the game


Murray* 4-6 4-6 5-5 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray’s been poor in this set but I can’t lie, there’s been a feeling throughout that he might just find a way to muddle through and take it, strange though that sounds after the awesome serving from Berrettini.

Will I be proved right?

No. And unequivocally no at that. It’s another awesome display of serving from Berrettini who holds to love.

I think I have accept I was letting the heart rule the head with prediction.

Murray 4-6 4-6 5-4 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Unforced errors are now dogging Murray and putting him under pressure on serve. He responds with a big serve and gets back to 30-30.

Then a forehand winner finds the mark before Berrettini misses on his return.

The Italian will now serve to stay in this third set. Can he keep his nerve now?

Murray* 4-6 4-6 4-4 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
The crowd roar as Murray passes Berrettini with a bullet forehand and then the Italian nets on a dry volley taking us to 15-30.

This looks to be a half chance for Murray but then he then nets on a simple backhand. ‘Unforgiveable’ says Jim Courier on Amazon Prime.

Murray follows that with two forehand misses and Berrettini is off the hook. The Italian holds, chance missed for Murray perhaps.

Murray 4-6 4-6 4-3 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Oooo that’s an impressive start to this game from Berrettini, who follows some punishing strikes with a majestic forehand.

Murray responds with his own big forehand though and fights back to 30-15. He’d love an easy service game here.

He progresses to 40-30 and then holds after an error from Berrettini.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 3-3 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Another imperious hold to 15 from Berrettini, who has only lost two points on his serve in this set.

Murray may be fighting on his serve but he can’t get near to breaking the Italian, who’s made 11 of 14 first serves in this set.

He’s a metronome at present.

Murray 4-6 4-6 3-2 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray starts with a double fault. The serve is really holding him back here.

Backhand volley errors won’t help either and the Scot is under pressure on serve again at 0-30.

Two first serves follow though and lead to two points, funny that. Murray then finds another, but misses! Oh what a miss that was on a mid-court forehand. Another break point incoming.

Saved! Berrettini looks disgusted at himself, that’s another break point gone for the Italian.

Murray then punishes him with a delicate volley before getting the better of a long rally.

I’d say living dangerously might be apt but Murray’s still fighting here.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 2-2 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
The shadow is back, horizontally this time. It has to be annoying for the players because it’s annoying for me watching.

Anyway, let’s park the moans and get back to the action.

Berrettini begins strongly, putting Murray on the back foot with some heavy serves as he races to 40-0.

Murray unforced error. Excellent hold from the Italian.

Murray 4-6 4-6 2-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
The pause has rather mixed us up there but anyway you rejoin me at 30-40 on the Murray serve. Berrettini could strike a fatal blow here.

But a backhand error from the Italian brings us back to deuce before Murray races to advantage and then holds after a the Italian misses on a volley.

That’s back-to-back holds from 15-40 for Murray. Living dangerously but he’s still in it.

We have a medical problem in the crowd.

The match is halted mid-way through this game while the spectator receives help.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 1-1 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
The Italian is showing little sign of slowing down on serve as he races to 40-15, thanks to a mix of big serving and Murray errors.

He makes no mistake with a smash to end the game and levels us up at 1-1 in this third set.

Murray 4-6 4-6 1-0 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray is cutting a glum figure every time a first serve finds the net to begin this set. This feels like a key game in the eventual trajectory of this match.

And it’s starting poorly for him as Berrettini gets to 15-40 without having to do much. Murray fights back though, scrambling well to track down a Berrettini forehand before the Italian nets.

And back to deuce! Good first serve, good approach, good volley from Murray. It’s a simple game really.

The Scot then holds with an ace. He needs much more of that if he’s going to get back into this one though.

Murray* 4-6 4-6 0-0 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini begins the game with an exception half volley in response to an attempted pass from Murray and races to 40-0. He’s looking pretty impervious to Murray’s game at present.

Murray gets a point back but Berrettini is taking no chances. He holds, that’s the second set and Berrettini is looking very strong here.

Murray 4-6 4-5 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray can’t get the first serve percentage up beyond 40%, it’s crazy he’s still on serve in this set.

Berrettini is trying to punish him this time though and gets to 0-40, this a massive moment in this one.

Murray saves the first with an ace (only his second of the match) but then double faults!

Berrettini breaks and will serve for a two sets to love lead as Murray’s frustration comes close to boiling over as he bashes his racket in disgust.

Murray* 4-6 4-4 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray gets to 30-30 after some excellent work in moving the Italian from side to side.

The door is ajar for the Scot as the players trade points and take us to deuce but it is then closed by Berrettini, who wins two points in economic but destructive fashion.

He holds. Will Murray live to regret letting that half-chance slip by?

Murray 4-6 4-3 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray is having to work decidedly harder for his points on serve but battles hard to get to 30-0.

And then….amazing! A superb bit of recovery keeps Murray in the rally after an excellent Berrettini backhand, his deft touch then wins him the point before he holds.

A different kind of love hold but one nonetheless.

Murray* 4-6 3-3 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini turns back to what he knows best – the serve.

Again it’s clever. Not all boom and bust but rather well thought out as he mixes up speeds and angles. It’s a convincing love hold for the Italian.

Murray 4-6 3-2 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray is struggling to deal with the bright glare when serving from the end bathed in sunshine. His service speeds are notably down at that end.

To his credit he is doing his best to fight past those issues and gets to 30-0 after wearing Berrettini down with accurate ground strokes.

But back-to-back points from Berrettini bring him level and elicit a scream of frustration from the other end.

Murray fights back though and holds after a superb rally – lobs, drops, recovery, the lot – ends with a Berrettini error.

Murray* 4-6 2-2 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
A Berrettini unforced error spoils a potential love hold but it’s a still an impressive response from the Italian in response to two lost games in a row.

Murray 4-6 2-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray is still struggling with his first serve but manages to will his way to 40-15. Is there a change of momentum occurring here?

Murray reckons so as he marches back to his chair after holding and consolidating his break. Game very much on here.

Murray* 4-6 1-1 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray gees himself up with a couple of ‘come ons’ after a Berrettini forehand drifts wide bringing us to 30-30.

Berrettini then misjudges a return from Murray – a break point chance for the Scot….which he coverts!

Exactly the response Murray, and this crowd, were after.

Murray 4-6 0-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray is cutting a frustrated figure here as a double fault leads to a Berrettini break point.

And the Italians powerful hitting proves too much for the Scot to handle as he breaks, stamping his authority on this match in no uncertain terms.

Serving proving key here
Berrettini’s big serve was the story at the first set but Murray needs to find more first serves to be competitive here.

He’s lingering around the 40% mark at present – that simply has to improve.

Murray* 4-6 0-0 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
First set – Berrettini

Murray’s task is not made easy by the shadow but the serving is excellent from Berrettini. It’s a love hold and the first set is in the bag.

Murray 4-5 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Berrettini perhaps had one eye on his service game there as Murray holds to love.

Can the Scot find a way to stay in this set against the lethal Berrettini serve?

Murray* 3-5 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
A serving clinic from the Italian, who mixes up clever body serves with heavy blows.

A Murray unforced error brings the hold. Berrettini will serve for the first set.

Murray 3-4 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Another Murray drop shot…but this time it’s just from a mis-hit smash. Berrettini then finds a drop shot of his own – this time of the conventional kind.

More tough hitting from both players and the intensity is definitely increasing as we get to 30-30.

Deft work at the net from the Italian gives him a break point….is this his moment?

Yes it is. A Murray double fault gives Berrettini the first break of the match.

Murray* 3-3 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Really nice start to the game from Berrettini, who responds to Murray’s drop shots in the previous game with one of his own.

Berrettini aces before Murray produces the shot of the match so far – an insane one-handed backhand pass down the line.

A double fault brings us back to deuce. Another ace from Berrettini but Murray responds with a trademark forehand lob!

The players trade blows, with Murray even having a break point, but Berrettini responds well and holds.

Shadow causing issues
Jim Courier on Amazon Prime suggests the shadow should move off the court in about 20 minutes.

Let’s hope he’s right as Murray is already grumbling to his box about it.

Murray 3-2 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray starts the game with two delicate drop shots that are simply too good for Berrettini.

Two unforced errors from Berrettini get Murray the game.

This game hasn’t quite lifted off yet.

Murray* 2-2 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
The Arthur Ashe Stadium is slowly filling up and the atmosphere is growing with it.

Berretinni’s serve is lethal on the deuce side but unforced errors on the advantage side, including a rudimentary back-hand volley, bring us to 30-30.

Two massive serves quash any danger though as the Italian holds.

Murray 2-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
The players trade unforced errors to begin the game, bringing us to 30-30, before a forehand off the net cord drifts wide and gives Berrettini an early break point.

But the Italian can’t covert and instead produces a tame slice backhand into the net. Murray then responds with some excellent hitting to recover his position in the game and holds.

Murray* 1-1 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Murray takes the first point before Berrettini replies with two huge serves, one of which is an 131mph ace. An errant forehand from Murray then drifts wide.

A well-constructed point from Murray gets us back to 40-30, before Berrettini nets a mid-court forehand to bring us to deuce.

The Italian turns to his big serve (135mph this time….just warming up) to get out of the jam though and eventually brings us level.

Murray 1-0 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Murray opens with two cheap points on his serve and gets the better of the first meaningful rally of the match as Berrettini nets a forehand.

Murray then takes full advantage to land to first game to love.

Murray to serve first
Here we go.

We’re nearly underway
The umpire has announced the end of the warmup.

Strap in folks, this could be a fun one.

It’s time for the obligatory…COME ON ANDY

Andy Murray’s pre match thoughts
“My body’s responding well to playing matches. I’m not having to worry about waking up with something the next day that is going to hamper my tennis.

“He [Berrettini] is very consistent who put down a high percentage of first serves. He has a good slice backhand, a good forehand and he’s a great competitor. It’s not going to be easy.”

The players are coming out
Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini step out to a great reception from the crowd on the Arthur Ashe stadium.

Something to note
This is a day match at Flushing Meadows, meaning both players are going to have to deal with the troublesome shadow that sits across the Arthur Ashe stadium on sunny afternoons.

andy murray

This has only been a problem since the new roof was placed over the top court at Flushing Meadows in 2016. How Murray deals with the big Berrettiniserve coming out of the darkness could be key to the early stages of this match.

Big one for Murray
For all the pedigree Andy Murray has rightly earned over his storied career, he has not qualified for the fourth round of a Grand Slam for five years.

Berrettini stands in his way of breaking that run tonight.

What week
It’s been a superb week for the British men at Flushing Meadows with Jack Draper, Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans all qualifying for the third round.

That’s never happened here in New York in the Open era. Can Murray lead the British charge into the fourth round this evening?

Showtime again in NYC
Welcome back to Flushing Meadows for live coverage of Andy Murray’s US Open third round tie against Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini.

After the disappointment of Emma Radacanu’s first-round exit, Murray and his cohort have taken it upon themselves to give British tennis fans something to shout about and for the first time in the Open era, four British men – Murray, Cam Norrie, Jack Draper and Dan Evans – will play in the US Open third round.

Murray was champion here in 2012 – his first Grand Slam title – and while he is now some way short of the player he was a decade ago, he has of late been showing signs of finding the sort of form that could prompt a deep run in a big tournament like this.

British tennis’s unquestioned grandee has eased to this point with two solid victories. A first-round victory against Argentinian 29th seed Francisco Cerúndolo came with minimum of fuss, before a four-set victory over 20-year-old American Emilio Nava.

During his injury-plagued period at the back-end of the 2010s, those results would have been wins of note for the Scot, so it’s a testament to his rediscovered form that he’s come through them so easily.

Things are about to get tougher though, a lot tougher. Matteo Berrettini is one of the most exciting young players in the world and was among the favourites for Wimbledon this year before an unfortunately timed bout of Covid.

He had been one of the form players in the world prior to that, winning Queens and the Stuttgart Open – where he beat Murray in the final. Once Covid-free, Berrettini continued his good form, making the final of the Swiss Open before coming up short against Caspar Rudd.

However, things have not been smooth sailing since and first-round losses in both Cincinnati and at the Canadian Open, mean the big-hitting Italian has something to prove as he looks to progress in a tournament in which he got to the semi-final in 2019.

All to play for then. In terms of head-to-head, Berrettini leads Murray 2-1 after getting the better of him in Stuttgart but the Scot has gradually grown in confidence all season and it would be a brave man who calls this one either way.

The action is set to start at 5pm UK time.

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