LONDON: Champion Matteo Berrettini booked his place in the semifinals of the Queen's Club ATP grass-court tournament with a straight sets win over Tommy Paul on Friday as British rookie Ryan Peniston's dream run finally came to an end.
Berrettini, last year's Wimbledon runner-up, was 4-1 down in the first set but he rallied to defeat the American 6-4, 6-2.
The Italian will now play Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands in the last four of the Wimbledon warm-up event.
Marin Cilic is also through to the last four, the first time has got this far in a grass-court tournament, after the Croatian beat Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (7/2, 6-4.
Cilic will play Filip Krajinovic, who finally put an end to Peniston's remarkable ATP main draw debut, with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Peniston, a lowly 180 in the rankings prior to this week, had already knocked out world number five and French Open finalist Casper Ruud on Tuesday.
He looked on course to make it into the last four when he took the first set against Krajinovic before the Serbian's greater experience of match play proved decisive.
Nevertheless 26-year-old left-hander Peniston, who survived cancer as a baby, could console himself with a cheque for £50,000 ($61,000) — almost double his earnings for the rest of the year — having secured a Wimbledon wild card which guarantees he will earn at least as much again.
"It's definitely a lot of money'', said Peniston, who will now move up 35 places in the rankings to 145 in the world.
"I was playing on the Futures Tours a couple of years ago and then the Challengers. So it's definitely going to help my career a lot. I'm just going to reinvest it in myself.
"Just being able to pay for training and travel and now I'm starting to be able to afford a coach to travel with.
"The next step is being able to afford a physical trainer on the road, which I think is super important, and trying to basically improve the team and have them as much with me as possible."
Peniston, from London, added: "I'm going to remember a lot from this week I think, for sure."
A forehand winner which clipped the baseline gave Peniston the first set in 47 minutes on a swelteringly hot day in London, with temperatures on centre court touching 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit).
Krajinovic, however, kept his cool sufficiently to level the match with the only break of the second set and edged ahead in the third before Peniston's overhit forehand gave the world number 48 the match.
"That was really tough'', said Krajinovic.
"The conditions were hot, windy. He played really well and for a set and a half he was the better player.
"But I started to play more aggressively and he made some mistakes, and I'm very happy to be in my first semifinal on grass." — AFP