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Berrettini vs Fucsovics ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Berrettini and Fucsovics battle for Sofia final spot

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 8 Feb 2019
  • Matteo Berrettini vs Marton Fucsovics is live from Sofia on Saturday, 9 February from 2:00pm local time/ 12:00pm GMT
  • First tour-level meeting between Berrettini and Fucsovics
Matteo Berrettini. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Matteo Berrettini and Marton Fucsovics meet for the first time at tour-level on Saturday as they battle for a spot in the Sofia final.

Both Berrettini and Fucsovics are seeking their second career finals, with both claiming their maiden titles last season. Berrettini won in Gstaad, while Fucsovics was champion in Geneva.

At 22, Berrettini is in and around the Next Gen class (he's just a year older that the official cut-off age of the ATP's Next Gen), and while he has not generated as much interest as some of his contemporaries, the Italian youngster is a proper talent, like he has once again demonstrated this week. He's had injury problems early in his career, and was ranked as low as 883rd in October 2016 after missing seven months of that season, but he's risen sharply in the last couple of years, and was just outside the top 50 by the end of 2018.

Berrettini claimed his first career title in Gstaad last season, beating Roberto Bautista-Agut in the final, and while he didn't do much else on the main tour, he had some good weeks on the Challenger Tour, winning the title in Bergamo and making another final in Irving. He rose as high as 52nd in 2018, and ended the year at 54th in the rankings.

The Italian limped to a 1-3 start this year, with his only win coming against Mackenzie McDonald in Auckland, (he lost to Leonardo Mayer in the second round), either side of opening round exits in Doha and Melbourne to Roberto Bautista-Agut and Stefanos Tsitsipas respectively, but he's improved that win-loss record to positive 4-3 this week, following quality wins over Denis Istomin, top seed, Karen Khachanov, and former world No. 7, Fernando Verdasco. After beating Istomin in straight sets in the first round, he's had to come back from a set down in his subsequent matches, the latest against Verdasco on Friday.

Berrettini lost his serve twice as he conceded the opening set, but he was almost untouchable from the service line in the remainder of the match, losing just eight points behind his first serve in the second and third sets, and giving up just one break point, which he saved, in the process. The Italian broke once in each set to complete a very impressive 4-6 7-5 6-4 victory after two hours and 22 minutes.

He will next take on Marton Fucsovics for a spot in his second career final.

Marton Fucsovics. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Fucsovics moved into his first semi-final of the season after Spanish fourth seed and former Sofia champion, Roberto Bautista-Agut withdrew from their scheduled quarter final meeting due to illness.

The Hungarian arrived Sofia with a 3-3 record, after losing in the second round in each of his first three tournaments of the season in Doha, Sydney and the Australian Open, but he finally strung together consecutive wins in Sofia, beating Andreas Seppi and Yannick Maden, before benefiting from Bautista-Agut's retirement on Friday- his 27th birthday. 

It's only the second tour-level semi-final in Fucsovics' career, with the first being in Geneva last season, where he went all the way to the title, beating Stan Wawrinka and American young gun, Frances Tiafoe along the way. His other notable results from last season where quarter finals at ATP 500 meets in Beijing and Vienna, and a fourth-round run at the Australian Open, all of which contributed to a season-ending ranking of 36th. The Hungarian briefly peaked at a career-high mark of 35th at the start of 2019, but he was at 47th at the start of the week, and could do with a decent run at that point. He has produced that in Sofia, and he will attempt to stretch his stay even further by beating Berrettini on Saturday?

Both men have met once before- at a Challenger event in Irving last year- with Berrettini winning, and I really like the Italian's chances of repeating that outcome on Saturday. He's played some excellent tennis this week, particularly the second and third sets against Khachanov and Verdasco, and if he reproduces that level on Saturday, I think he will be too good for Fucsovics.

Matteo Berrettini vs Marton Fucsovics is live from Sofia on Saturday, 9 February from 2:00pm local time/ 12:00pm GMT

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify 

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Berrettini vs Fucsovics ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Berrettini and Fucsovics battle for Sofia final spot

Matteo Berrettini and Marton Fucsovics go head-to-head in Sofia on Saturday with a spot in the final on the line. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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