Big-serving Matteo Berrettini denies home favourite Dan Evans at Queen’s Club

Jonathan Davies in ATP Queens Club 21 Jun 2021
Big-serving Berrettini hit 13 aces on Friday (John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images)

Matteo Berrettini remained on course to win the Cinch Championships at his first attempt after beating Dan Evans in straight sets, despite rain delaying the quarter-final showdown by nearly four hours at Queen’s Club.

Indeed, the poor weather conditions meant the eight remaining players in the men’s singles draw were forced to wait until 4.30pm BST for day five’s action to commence.

However, the imposed delay did little to affect the concentration of Berrettini or Evans, while the patient spectators were not disappointed as they served up a thoroughly entertaining opening set.

But despite British number one Evans rescuing eight break points to ensure it remained on serve and eventually forcing a tie-break, Berrettini held his nerve to prevail 7-5.

The top seed, who overcame five-time champion Andy Murray in round two, is targeting only his second ATP title on grass, having last tasted triumph on this surface at the 2019 Stuttgart Open.

Meanwhile, Evans was searching for his first career semi-final appearance on grass, but he faced an even greater uphill battle after Berrettini broke to love in game eight of the second set.

And the Italian needed no second invitation to get the job done as he successfully served out victory in the next game; hitting his 13th ace of the match along the way.

His reward is a showdown with fourth seed Alex de Minaur, who recovered from a set down to beat two-time champion Marin Cilic 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Winner of the recent Stuttgart Open, Cilic arrived in the contest having won each of his last seven on grass.

The former world number three – champion here in 2012 and 2018 – made the ideal start by controlling the opening set.

But seeking his first semi-final appearance on this surface, four-time ATP winner De Minaur hit back to level and set up a decider, in which he broke to love in game three on the way to completing the turnaround.

Elsewhere, Cameron Norrie came out on top in the battle of the Brits; seeing off wildcard Jack Draper in straight sets (6-3 6-3).

A couple of early breaks in both sets swung the contest in favour of Norrie, who will play the winner of the last remaining quarter-final between Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe.

That will conclude on Saturday after play was suspended due to bad light with second seed Shapovalov having just taken the opening set 6-3.