STUTTGZART (AFP) – Matteo Berrettini capped a successful injury comeback with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 defeat of Andy Murray to win the ATP Stuttgart title.
The 2021 Wimbledon finalist, who last competed in March prior to hand surgery, denied Murray a first grass court title since the Scot won his second Wimbledon crown in 2016.
Berrettini remains undefeated (9-0) at the Stuttgart tournament after winning in 2019.
Former world number one Murray looked like taking charge as he broke the 10th-ranked Italian to level the final at one set apiece.
But the momentum did not last, with 68th-ranked Murray losing serve to love to start the third set.
With his long-standing groin problem appearing to bother him, Murray immediately called for the trainer.
He was treated on court but was never able to close the gap on 26-year-old Berrettini despite saving a match point in the final game.
After a strenuous point in the seventh game, Murray lay down in front of his chair for a few moments to catch his breath as the trainer briefly looked again at his right hip and groin area.
The three-time Grand Slam champion held serve for 3-4 but was unable to stop the Italian’s final push to victory on the back of 19 aces.
Murray was competing in the 70th final of his career. His last final came at Sydney in January, where he lost to Aslan Karatsev.
Berrettini won his first trophy since Queen’s a year ago prior to his run to the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.