Matteo Berrettini made history for Italy, becoming the third player to reach the final of a Masters 1000 with Saturday’s 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Casper Ruud in Madrid.
The eighth seed from Rome spent 83 minutes in subduing the No. 22 from Norway, competing in his third consecutive clay semi-final at the elite Masters 1000 level.
Berrettini follows Fabio Fognini (Monte Carlo champion, 2019) and the March Miami finalist Jannik Sinner into a Masters final. .
Berrettrini will bid for his first M1000 trophy against Alexander Zverev, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Dominic Thiem, twice a Madrid finalist and the reigning US open holder.
Berrettini stands 1-2 against his German opponent, with all of their meetings played at Masters venues.
Ruud and Berrettini, the recent Belgrade champion, were competing in Madrid for the first time, with the Italian breaking once per set for victory.
“It’s a great, unbelievable feeling, especially coming from Monte-Carlo where I wasn’t feeling that good,” Berrettini said.
“I won in Belgrade and now I’m in the final, so I’m really looking forward to playing against Sascha. I hope I enjoy it tomorrow the way I enjoyed tonight.”
Berrettini’s win was his eighth in a row on clay after losing his opening match last month in Monte Carlo following time away due to an abdominal injury.