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Struff vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Big servers face off for the chance to make first grass-court ATP final in Stuttgart

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 14 Jun 2019
  • Jan-Lennard Struff faces Matteo Berrettini in the Mercedes Cup semifinals
  • Struff vs Berrettini is live from Stuttgart on Saturday at 1pm local/12pm BST
Jan-Lennard Struff (PA Sports)

Jan-Lennard Struff is 0-6 in ATP Tour semifinals – will home advantage help him reach his first final as he takes on rising Italian Matteo Berrettini in Stuttgart?

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Will it be Jan-Lennard Struff or Matteo Berrettini who makes their first ATP Tour final on grass courts at the Mercedes Cup? The two face off in Saturday’s Stuttgart semifinals.

With top-10 players Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov all crashing out of the Mercedes Cup before the quarterfinal stage, there is plenty of opportunity for those who did survive the early rounds to reach the final in Stuttgart.

Struff in action (PA Sports)
Struff is trying to reach his first ever ATP Tour final, an achievement which has eluded the 29-year-old despite his current career-high ranking of world no. 38, the fruit of a season which has seen the German play some of the best tennis of his life. 

Struff was defeated in the first round of last year’s Mercedes Cup by a wildcard ranked outside the top 300, but went on to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career at Wimbledon, courtesy of five-set wins over Leonardo Mayer and Ivo Karlovic. Ending the year at world no. 57 with a 27-26 win-loss record, Struff started 2019 with a run to the semifinals in Auckland and looks set fair to accomplish his best season yet. He scored just the third top-10 win of his career over Alexander Zverev on his way to the round of 16 at the Indian Wells Masters, and went on to get another against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the previous year’s finalist, on his way to the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open.

A strong clay-court season for the German continued with a third-round appearance at the Rome Masters, and he achieved a career-best result at the French Open, making the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time with wins over Denis Shapovalov, Radu Albot and, in a five-set thriller, Borna Coric, although he made no impression whatsoever on Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.

Grass has never been a good surface for Struff despite his big serve, with a 6-17 record at ATP Tour level before this year, although obviously he did make the aforementioned third round at Wimbledon last year. Still, he has brought his excellent form from the clay to grass: He beat eighth seed Denis Shapovalov in the first round, ousted rising Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the second and then took out former champion Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals – all without dropping a set. 

This will be Struff’s seventh appearance in an ATP Tour semifinal – and he has never won one before. Indeed, he has taken just one set in the previous six, and that came against Cameron Norrie in Auckland in January. What do his chances of reaching a first ATP Tour final in Stuttgart look like?

Matteo Berrettini (PA Sports)
Matteo Berrettini is a name I wasn’t expecting to see in the Mercedes Cup semifinals, but that’s not because the 23-year-old Italian isn’t a quality player – quite the contrary, in fact. Berrettini looks like an excellent prospect and comes into Stuttgart at a career-high ranking of world no. 30, and when you consider that he broke into the top 100 for the first time only last May, that’s an impressive achievement.

Berrettini not only made his first ATP Final in Gstaad last July, he captured the title, beating then-world no. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. Ending the year ranked world no. 54, Berrettini made the semifinals on indoor hard courts in Sofia in February with wins over Karen Khachanov and Fernando Verdasco, and went on to win the Phoenix Challenger in March, taking advantage of the time freed up by losing in the first round of the Indian Wells Masters. It’s on clay, however, that he has really flourished in 2019, compiling a 12-4 record and at one point recording a nine-match winning streak as he made back-to-back finals in Budapest and Munich before Cristian Garin beat him in the latter. 

Berrettini went on to beat Zverev on his way to the third round of the Rome Masters, and although his French Open performance disappointed – he lost to the unseeded Casper Ruud of Norway in straight sets in the second round – he has clearly, like Struff, carried his strong form on to the grass: Nick Kyrgios, Khachanov and Denis Kudla have all been disposed of without the loss of a set. 

Before this year, Berrettini’s only main-draw win on grass at ATP Tour level came over Jack Sock in the first round of Wimbledon 2018, and he has never faced Struff before. But he is 3-1 in ATP Tour semifinals.

Both Struff and Berrettini are big servers – Struff hit 12 aces against Pouille in the quarterfinals, and won 88% of first-serve points, losing only three, while Berrettini hit ten aces against Kudla and won 90% of his first-serve points, again losing only three – so it’s safe to expect a tight encounter with breaks at a premium and probably more than one tie-break. It’s extremely tough to call with them not having played each other; Struff has the crowd on his side, but Berrettini is better at making ATP finals. Perhaps the best bet is to anticipate a lengthy match.

Struff vs Berrettini men’s semifinal tennis is live from Stuttgart on Saturday at 1pm local/12pm BST

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Struff vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Big servers face off for the chance to make first grass-court ATP final in Stuttgart

Jan-Lennard Struff vs Matteo Berrettini live streaming, preview and predictions for the Mercedes Cup Stuttgart semifinal match on Saturday 15 June: Journeyman Struff is 0-6 in ATP Tour semifinals, will home advantage help him deny rising Italian Berrettini?

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