In tennis, an opponent is sometimes simply too good on the day. According to Hubert Hurkacz, who fell short at Wimbledon against Matteo Berrettini in his first Grand Slam semi-final, that was the case on Friday.

“Matteo played [an] unbelievable match today. Huge congrats to him. Every single service game, he was serving bombs. I didn’t have many chances, basically zero,” Hurkacz said. “Huge congrats for him that he kept such a high level throughout the whole four sets. He played really well.”

The 24-year-old beat second seed Daniil Medvedev and eight-time champion Roger Federer earlier in the tournament, and in the second half of the match against Berrettini he found some of his best tennis again to put pressure on the Italian. But the seventh seed had too much firepower for the Pole to deal with.

“He was putting a lot of pressure on me. My first serve really wasn’t helping me, which usually [it] does and [it] gets me out of trouble. I was struggling with that,” Hurkacz said. “Plus he was putting a lot of pressure on me and he was playing really amazing without [making] any unforced errors. I wasn’t playing great at that time, but he was putting a lot of pressure.”

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Berrettini crushed 60 winners to just 18 unforced errors, an incredible ratio, especially with a spot in the Wimbledon final on the line. Hurkacz had won 81 per cent of his first-serve points en route to the semi-finals at the All England Club. But on Friday, he only managed to claim 68 per cent of points behind his first delivery.

“I was trying to stay competitive,” Hurkacz said. “And fight for every single point, especially at the beginning of the third set to try to make a comeback.”

Hurkacz did well to win the third set in a tie-break and add tension to the clash. But Berrettini raised his level again to make his first major championship match, in which he will play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic or 10th seed Denis Shapovalov.

“If he continues to play like this, he has a really big chance in the final,” Hurkacz said.

The Miami champion leaves London without a trophy, but with an important experience to look back on in the future. Entering the tournament, he was on a six-match losing streak and had never advanced to the second week at a Grand Slam. Now the three-time ATP Tour titlist knows he is capable of making a deep run at this level.

“Obviously playing in front of this amazing crowd, this was such a pleasure,” Hurkacz said. “I enjoyed to play, especially playing [in the] semi-finals, playing a super big match. So [I am] super happy to [have] experienced that.”



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