Memories of defeat help Rublev gain revenge against Berrettini

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andrey Rublev delved into his mental notes from last year’s defeat by Matteo Berrettini to turn the tables on his Italian opponent in a replay of their U.S. Open fourth-round meeting on Monday.

Rublev rallied from the loss of the opening set to seal a 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over the sixth seed in what was a stark contrast to last year’s encounter at the same stage where the Russian was outclassed in straight sets.

“I remember last year he was playing really well. Instead of accepting it, I was complaining, I was nervous,” 22-year-old Rublev told reporters.

“By the time I realized that instead of thinking these things, I just needed to play, it was already two sets to zero.

“Today he started really well... When I lost the first set, I just said to myself to keep fighting. If he’s better today, he’s better. In the end I had a little chance, I broke him and turned it all the way around.”

Rublev struck 34 winners and made just 28 unforced errors as he set up a clash with countryman Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals. The two are well-versed with each other’s games, having risen through the junior ranks together.

“Both of us were crazy on court, destroying racquets, complaining,” Rublev said. “He has always been one of the biggest fighters that I have ever seen since he was, I don’t know, seven years old.

“He could play lobs for hours just to win. I remember we had a few battles when we were kids.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin