Coming into just his second Tour-level match, Lorenzo Musetti did not expect to beat three-time Grand Slam winner Stanislas Wawrinka at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Tuesday, but the teenager said that he fully deserved his stunning 6-0, 7-6 (7/2) victory.
A straight-sets loss to Andrey Rublev in Dubai in February was Musetti’s only Tour-level appearance before the claycourt matchup against Wawrinka, who counts the French Open among his three major titles.
“I think it’s a dream that came true. I’m still not believing what I did tonight,” Musetti said, adding that he used to visit the Foro Italico complex in Rome with his friends to watch the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Wawrinka play.
“I didn’t expect this win, but I think I deserved it. I played really good tennis,” he said.
As a junior, the Italian finished runner-up at the 2018 US Open and won the Australian Open last year, the same year he turned professional.
The 18-year-old, ranked 249, needed a wildcard to play the qualifiers in the Masters 1000 tournament and was getting close to matching his career earnings of US$70,000 from just one event.
“I don’t know how many points I got, how much money,” Musetti told reporters.
“I just enjoyed the match and I had a lot of fun tonight,” he added.
“We worked a lot this month. I think I did one step of maturation of my game and my mentality,” he said.
Musetti’s single-handed backhand was also a match for Wawrinka, who skipped the US Open and the Western & Southern Open in New York and played challenger events on clay to prepare for this month’s French Open in Paris.
“Stan has an incredible backhand, incredible serve, a lot of power,” Musetti said. “I think I just managed my weapons the best tonight. At the end, it was incredible.”
Winners in the men’s singles round of 64 on Tuesday were Andrey Rublev, John Millman, Federico Coria, Dominik Koepfer, Pedro Martinez, Dusan Lajovic, Denis Shapovalov, Salvatore Caruso, Yoshihito Nishioka, Marco Cecchinato and Milos Raonic.
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
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LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,