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Andy Murray plays a return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini

(AP)

Matteo Berrettini showed signs of recapturing the form which took him to the Wimbledon final last year as he beat Andy Murray 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to win the Stuttgart Open on Sunday in his first tournament for three months.

The Italian hadn’t played since Indian Wells in March because of a hand injury which forced him to miss the entire clay-court swing and, in Murray, faced an opponent whose own injury issues hampered him in the deciding set.

“It was the last thing that I imagined when I came here,” Berrettini said of winning the title on his return to the tour.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray collided with one of the players’ seats at courtside in the first point of the decider and called for the physio soon after for treatment on his left leg and hip. He took another timeout when he appeared to indicate a problem with his abdominal muscles at 4-2 down.

“This is not the way that we wanted to finish the match,” Berrettini said, and he praised Murray‘s history of bouncing back from injuries. “He showed us so many times how to come back.”

Berrettini moves to 6-3 in career finals with his second career Stuttgart title, while Murray is 46-24 in his 70th career final as he chased a first title since 2019. It was the first time Murray played a singles final on grass since winning Wimbledon in 2016.

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Andy Murray reacts to Stuttgart Open defeat

Speaking in an on-court interview broadcast by Tennis Channel, Murray said: “It’s been a incredible week here. I really enjoyed it. I’d like to congratulate Matteo and his team on a fantastic week.

“He’s just come back from a surgery and it’s never easy. He played extremely well today and deserved the win. Finally thank you to my team here and my team back home.

“Sorry I couldn’t get over the line today but there’s been a lot of progress the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to what the future has to hold, I’m feeling a lot better about my game. Hopefully my body can hold up a little while longer so I can keep playing matches like this.”

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 17:15

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Matteo Berrettini reacts to victory over Andy Murray in Stuttgart Open final

Berrettini said: “It was really hard to digest, I felt it, Andy was able to serve well and took the chances I didn’t take, so we went to the third set. I said to myself, ‘I have to fight’.

“Congrats to Andy. It’s not the way we wanted to finish, he’s hurt, I’m sorry for him. I learned a lot from him, he’s a great champion.”

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:56

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, *3-6 Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

That’s it, after missing one chance, Berrettini grabs the second opportunity to clinch the Stuttgart Open championship after two hours and 40 minutes.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:51

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, *3-5 Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Murray, serving to stay in the match…

A delightful lobbed volley beats Berrettini, 30-0.

A throwaway game for the Italian? Maybe, he’s gone long and Murray has three game points.

Not so fast, that’s a rocket of a winner, 40-15.

The beginning of the end? A double fault and then a gorgeous point from Berrettini’s perspective, Murray moved all over the court, then the pass as Murray sprinted to the net to counter a drop shot with another. Deuce.

A half-volley lob from Murray is long, championship point…

Murray battles back and stays in the match, both men moving fluidly given the circumstances.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:43

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 3-5* Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

We’re now at two hours and 27 minutes. This is a huge effort from Murray.

Murray is fuming at that call, hawkeye goes to work, it’s in. 30-0.

Berrettini hooks a forehand cross court and it sails wide. 30-15. Murray needs to act now really, or it’ll be one game away from the title for his rival.

Murray dragged towards the net and Berrettini gleefully pumps a forehand down the line for two game points.

ACE! Game, Berrettini, his 19th of the match. It’s been the difference in the last hour or so.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:38

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, *3-4 Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Murray with a flick of the wrists, backhand down the line, 15-0.

Murray now receiving medical work on his left hip again. This looks painful.

Murray now flat on his back and getting a massage. Berrettini patiently looks on. Murray is back, the crowd goes wild, “let’s go, Andy, let’s go,” reverberates around the arena.

A cheap point for Murray as we resume, glorious relief no doubt, two game points, and he takes the first. 3-4.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:32

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 2-4* Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Murray swipes the racket in anger.

Berrettini lands another crushing first serve. 17-7 for those keeping count of the aces.

Both men feeling the heat and strain of two and a half hours now.

Berrettini cries out loud after a booming forehand powers past Murray. 4-2, he’s close now.

Matteo Berrettini during the match against Britain’s Andy Murray

(AP)

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:30

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, *2-3 Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Berrettini bashes the ball past a static Murray at the net. An easy pass. 15-15.

Patient ground strokes from Murray, tempting Berrettini into a powerful backhand winner, but it crashes into the net.

It’s 2-3, over to you Matteo.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:25

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 1-3* Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Murray mouting to himself. Berrettini back on top with serve.

A bullet of a first serve brings up game, he’s 15-7 up in that category. Clearly a heat check sometime after the first set was needed, he’s found his range now.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:23

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Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, *1-2 Matteo Berrettini – Stuttgart Open final

Murray flicks the switch!

Unreturned serve, a powerful ground stroke and he’s quickly up to 40-0.

Then a backhand volley at the net. Game. To love. 1-2. Impressive response.

Jack Rathborn12 June 2022 16:18