Berrettini looks ahead after milestones at Australian Open

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Matteo Berrettini. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Matteo Berrettini. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Matteo Berrettini said he will learn from the experience of playing Grand Slam great Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals at the Australian Open on Friday and become a better player.

The Italian seventh seed began tardily and gave Nadal a two-set advantage before hitting his groove but going down 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in 2hr 55min on Rod Laver Arena.

Berrettini set personal milestones at the year's opening major, becoming the first Italian man to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open while playing in his third Grand Slam semi-final.

Despite his defeat, Berrettini is assured of rising to a new career high ranking of number six next week, and if he had beaten Nadal in Melbourne he would have displaced him at number five.

Last year's Wimbledon finalist, Berrettini is taking plenty of positives away from his best Australian Open in five trips to Melbourne.

"It was a good run. I have a lot of things that I can improve and a lot of things that I did well," the 25-year-old said.

"I'm proud of what I have done. But I guess in a way it's good that I still have room for improvement.

"I know that my level is getting higher. I think for the third and fourth sets my tennis level was really high.

"Rafa had to play his best tennis to be with me, and this is what the great champions normally do. When you're stepping up the level, they are there with you.

"So it's time for me to play these kinds of matches as much as possible to learn from these matches and next time I want to be ready for them."

Berrettini said that for the first two sets he struggled against Nadal.

"It was the first time I played with the roof. It was different conditions. I struggled. I couldn't really find the rhythm and the conditions were a little bit different," he said.

"It took me a while to adapt, but at the same time Rafa was playing really good.

"So I learned that you have to be ready any time, and I'm learning this every day since I started playing tennis. Today he was just way better than me."

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