De Minaur Feeds Off Aussie Fans To Stage Musetti Comeback
Alex De Minaur fed off strong home support to rally from a set down and defeat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the Australian Open first round on Tuesday.
A bright start from the sublimely talented Italian suggested that de Minaur would be in for a tough evening on Kia Arena, but Australia’s No. 1 player fought back impressively to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-3.
“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said de Minaur when addressing the crowd after the match. “I’ve had some great memories on this court, playing in front of my home fans. There’s no place I’d rather be, that’s for sure.
“The most important thing is I stayed positive throughout the whole match. I’m not allowed to get negative on court so if you guys see me negative on court, make sure to tell me off.”
The Demon delivers 😈— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2022
🇦🇺 @alexdeminaur defeats Lorenzo Musetti 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-3 to advance to the second round at #AO2022.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/69oCUS580B
#NextGenATP star Musetti was playing in the Australian Open main draw for the first time but has already shown he has the game for the big stage. He reached the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2021 on his Grand Slam debut, going two sets up on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic before being forced to retire in the fifth set.
“He’s obviously a very talented player,” said de Minaur. “He’s gone to five sets with Novak, so I knew it was going to be a very tough match and I was happy I was able to turn it around after the first set, play some good tennis and move on to the second round.”
At just 22, de Minaur has already won five ATP Tour titles, including two in the 2021 season (Antalya, Eastbourne). He showed some early season form at this year’s ATP Cup in his hometown of Sydney, winning two singles matches, including a confidence-boosting victory over World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini.
The threat of Musetti was immediately evident as the 19-year-old reeled off five consecutive games to seal the first set 6-3. The Italian was never able to build on that early promise, however, and the speed and tenacity of de Minaur began to tell as he took the second set 6-3 to level.
The third set was one-way traffic as Musetti’s game eluded him and the Australian took it 6-0, making it eight games won in a row in the process. Musetti won just five points in the set as the home favourite began to assert his dominance.
The Italian was more competitive again in the fourth set, but de Minaur made sure that his young opponent was constantly under pressure, winning 28 out of 40 points at the net and hitting 34 winners on his way to victory.
De Minaur faces another star of this year’s ATP Cup in the second round, Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak. The World No. 107 won all three singles matches he played for Poland at the team competition two weeks ago, and he came through 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 against Italy’s Andreas Seppi on Tuesday to set the De Minaur clash.