Match Report

Lehecka Manages Musetti To Break New Ground In Miami

Halys saves three match points to upset De Minaur
March 25, 2023
Jiri Lehecka powers a backhand against Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday during his second-round win in Miami.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Jiri Lehecka powers a backhand against Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday during his second-round win in Miami. By ATP Staff

In the midst of a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour, Jiri Lehecka on Saturday added to his list of first-time achievements for 2023 by taking out 18th seed Lorenzo Musetti at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

The 21-year-old Czech triumphed 6-4, 6-4 inside Hard Rock Stadium to reach the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time. Lehecka, who reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at January’s Australian Open, broke Musetti’s serve once in each set for an 80-minute win.

In a meeting of 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals competitors, it was Lehecka who looked the more comfortable with the fast court conditions in Miami. He fired 25 winners and showcased some fine net skills to go with his rasping groundstrokes — Lehecka claimed 76 per cent (29/38) of points in which he moved forward.

Lehecka claimed his maiden win at Masters 1000 level against Arthur Rinderknech in Indian Wells two weeks ago before falling to Andrey Rublev. He climbed four spots to No. 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, just three places short of his career high, after dispatching Federico Coria and Musetti in straight sets in Miami.

Lehecka will play 14th seed Karen Khachanov or Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the third round at the second Masters 1000 event of the year.

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Quentin Halys also upset a seeded opponent on Saturday, but in rather more dramatic circumstances than Lehecka. The Frenchman saved three match points to prevail 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(8) in a three-hour, 18-minute marathon against 15th seed Alex de Minaur.

Having at one point trailed 6-7(5), 2-5, Miami debutant Halys saved the first match point at 4-5, 30/40 in the second set. He saved the two others in a tense deciding-set tie-break, ultimately converting his own second match point to reach the third round of a Masters 1000 event for the first time. The Frenchman ended the encounter with 57 winners, including 21 aces.

Halys’ next opponent in Florida will be home favourite Mackenzie McDonald, after the World No. 55 upset 19th seed Matteo Berrettini 7-6(8), 7-6(5). The winner of Halys and McDonald’s third-round match could then face Alex Molcan. The Slovakian overcame Japanese lefty Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-2 to advance to face fourth seed Daniil Medvedev or Roberto Carballes Baena.

Cristian Garin also advanced to the third round as the Chilean qualifier continued his fine Sunshine Double form by taking down 27th seed Sebastian Baez 7-6(2), 6-3 on Court 7.

The former World No. 17 Garin earned his spot in the main draw via qualifying in both Indian Wells and Miami. He ultimately reached the fourth round in the California desert and moved within one win of equalling that run in Miami by converting four of 10 break points to wrap a two-hour, six-minute win against Argentina’s Baez.

Garin’s win reduced his ATP Head2Head deficit against Baez to 1-2. The 26-year-old has risen eight spots to No. 74 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result of his exploits so far in Miami, where he next faces second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek advanced to the third round without hitting a ball on Saturday after his second-round opponent Richard Gasquet withdrew due to a left ankle issue.

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