Berrettini withdrawal hands Tsitsipas quarterfinal ticket

  • Matthew Clayton

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been handed a free passage to the quarterfinals of Australian Open 2021 after fourth-round opponent Matteo Berrettini withdrew with an abdominal strain from their match scheduled for Monday night at Rod Laver Arena. 

Berrettini, the ninth seed, was injured late in his straight-sets victory over Russian Karen Khachanov on Saturday night, requiring a medical timeout before returning to the court to put the finishing touches on a 7-6(1) 7-6(5) 7-6(5) victory that saw him make the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time. 

"I had a problem with my abs, and I spoke to the doctors and they said it can get worse," Berrettini said. 

"Obviously I'm not 100 per cent ... I decided not to play because it's not worth the risk on this big stage. 

"What I felt in the previous match with Khachanov at the end was something that is bigger than I thought, so I cannot play. During the match, I think it was 4-3 in the third, I felt something that I hoped wasn't that big, but in the end I guess it is because I'm here not able to play."

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Berrettini received treatment in his win over Karen Khachanov on Saturday

Tsitsipas, the fifth seed, returns to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time since his run to the final four in 2019, and will face No.2 seed Rafael Nadal for a spot in the semifinals after Nadal’s straight-sets passage past Italian Fabio Fognini earlier on Monday. 

Nadal leads his head-to-head rivalry with the Greek 6-1, with their only previous meeting at a major coming two years ago in Australia where Nadal won 6-2 6-4 6-0.