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The thrillride known as Lorenzo Musetti continues to careen wildly down the tracks. Far from a typical talent, the Italian, aged 19 and carrying an ATP ranking of No.90 in the world, plays with artistic flair and creative ingenuity.

So far, so good.

Tennis Express


In just six tour-level events, Musetti has amassed a 12-5 record with seven of those victories coming against players ranked in the Top 35. Today he was up and down but ultimately magnificent enough to win as he rallied to save four match points against top-seeded Dan Evans to reach the quarterfinals at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy.

The Italian will bid to reach his third career semifinal on Friday when he meets Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the quarterfinal. Djere knocked off sixth-seeded John Millman 6-3 6-3 on Thursday, while Germany’s Yannik Hanfmann stopped Marco Cecchinato, 7-5 6-1, and Lorenzo Sonego stymied Gilles Simon, 6-4 6-1.


Musetti was off and running against Evans, dominating the opening set, but Evans hit back in the middle set, securing three breaks of serve to force a decider.

In the third set Evans missed out on a break point with Musetti serving at 4-5, ad-out, but the British No.1 saved a match point with aggressive tactics as he served at 5-6.

Evans rushed out to a 4-0 lead in the breaker, then held triple match point at 6-3, with two serves on his racquet. Evans committed a forehand error on the first match point, and Musetti cracked a backhand slice winner with Evans on the net to get back on serve.

But the Italian still had a match point to save at 5-6—he did so with a perfect drop shot winner.

Evans wasn’t done, he earned another point, which Musetti saved with a big first serve that drew an error. Finally, the Italian converted his third match point of the contest with another drop winner, and he slammed his racquet into the court in celebration—a reaction worthy of his improvisational game, if there ever was one.

It would have made more sense if it was Evans throwing the racquet, as the Brit has now lost ten straight matches on clay, a streak that dates all the way back to April of 2017.


“It was really tough. I was 3/6 down in the tie-break and he was playing good, always going to the net and always aggressive,” said Musetti. “I tried to stay calm and tried to play each point. That is what I did and it worked, so I am really happy and really proud of myself with this win.”

 

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