LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Matteo Berrettini stayed on course for back-to-back grass-court titles by recovering from a set down to beat lucky loser Denis Kudla and reach the Queen's Club quarterfinals on Thursday.
Berrettini won, 3-6, 7-5 (5), 6-4 and will be one of just two seeded players in the quarterfinals.
The second-seeded Italian, who beat Andy Murray in the Stuttgart final on Sunday, has only recently returned from three months out because of hand injury and was sluggish with his groundstrokes throughout a hard-fought match in balmy conditions in west London.
Berrettini's booming serve, which took him to the Wimbledon final last year, eventually bailed him out after Kudla — ranked No. 82 — won the first set without facing a break point.
Three aces from Berrettini helped him win the second-set tiebreaker, after which he called for the trainer.