CHAMPIONSHIP POINT; Hurkacz remains perfect in ATP finals

On Sunday, Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz nearly crossed the finish line at the same time to triumph at their respective ATP 500 events and stake their claim as viable contenders to break through for a major title at Wimbledon.

Berrettini first wrapped up another strong week, denying Filip Krajinovic a maiden ATP title with his 7-5, 6-4 victory at the Queen’s Club in London. The Italian fired 14 aces and dropped serve just once to successfully defend his trophy.

"A few weeks ago I couldn't hold a racquet. Now I'm here lifting the second trophy in a row," said Berrettini.

"I couldn't ask for a better start to the grass season."

The Wimbledon men’s runner-up last year, Berrettini will enter the All England Club on a nine-match win streak after beginning his comeback from a right-hand injury by winning the Stuttgart crown last weekend. He is now 33-6 lifetime on grass.


Are we looking at the future 2022 Wimbledon men's champion?

Are we looking at the future 2022 Wimbledon men's champion?

Hurkacz is no slouch on the surface either, having made his major semifinal debut in 2021 at SW19. It was there where he rallied from two sets to one down to upstage Daniil Medvedev and followed it up by ousting Roger Federer in straight sets, finishing with a third-set bagel.

The Pole once again found Medvedev across the net, this time with the Halle title on the line. He set the tone from the start by racing to a 5-0 lead and at one stage in the second set, Medvedev’s coach Gilles Cervara left the stadium as the world No. 1 never managed to keep pace. The fifth-seeded Hurkacz finished off a 6-1, 6-4 victory to claim his fifth ATP crown from five finals and first away from hard courts.

"All the right shots went my way at the beginning, so I definitely gained a lot of momentum from that," Hurkacz said on-court.

For Berrettini and Hurkacz, this was a critical week in the points department—maintaining in Berrettini’s situation and gaining in Hurkacz’s case. Neither will be able to defend their Wimbledon showings from 2021 following the ATP tour’s decision to remove ranking points in response to the tournament’s banning of Russian and Belarusian players (which prevented the likes of Medvedev from entering).

Berrettini ultimately prevailed over Hurkacz in last year's Wimbledon semifinals. The two are each projected to be seeded inside the Top 8, with Hurkacz at No. 7 and Berrettini at No. 8.

Medvedev is now 0-5 in finals after capturing his first major title at the 2021 US Open. Krajinovic, who had never won a tour-level match on grass prior to this week, dropped to 0-5 in title matches.