Musetti Wins First Five-Setter, Extends Paris Stay

#NextGenATP star to meet World No. 1 Djokovic

Lorenzo Musetti extended his stay in Paris with a hard-fought victory over fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato on Saturday at Roland Garros.

The 19-year-old #NextGenATP star became the sixth player since 2000 to reached the fourth round on his Grand Slam championship debut after he defeated 2018 semi-finalist Cecchinato 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and seven minutes. It was the first five-setter of his career, and he fell to the court in celebration after his win.

"I was really satisfied at the end and [it] was a mix of tension and I was a little bit tired," Musetti said. "[It] was my first time playing in the fifth. Everyone saw the ending, and I had a lot of match points. I didn't win those match points. Then at the end at 5-3 I served good. The last match point at the end was really satisfying for me and really emotional."

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Musetti, who hit 50 winners, fell to the ground in celebration after he completed his 16th match win of the year (16-8 record) to set up a clash against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, who swept past Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania later in the day.

"I have a lot of feelings right now, and I'm not thinking about the match," said Musetti. "I [will] try to enjoy the win of today a bit, and then tomorrow I will focus on trying to beat Novak and try to go forward." 

Male Players To Reach R16 On Grand Slam Debut (SINCE 2000)

Position Player
Hyung-Taik Lee 2000 US Open
David Goffin 2012 Roland Garros
Juan Ignacio Londero 2019 Roland Garros
Daniel Altmaier 2020 Roland Garros
Aslan Karatsev 2021 Australian Open
Lorenzo Musetti 2021 Roland Garros

Musetti, competing at a career-high No. 76 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, broke 28-year-old Cecchinato in the third game of the decider with a fine backhand winner down the line. The flashy shot-maker gained another break, for a 5-1 advantage, after Cecchinato hit a forehand wide.

Cecchinato, seeking the 50th clay-court win of his career, responded immediately and at 2-5 saved three match points with five points in a row from 0/40. But Musetti kept his composure as he served for the match for a second time.

Nine months ago, Musetti was still outside the Top 250 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. He has reached two ATP Tour semi-finals this year, as a qualifier at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC and also at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas both times).

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Musetti will try to bring his best to his first tour-level meeting against Djokovic, with whom he has practised several times.

"We know each other a little bit. [We] never played [a match] and it's going to be the first time, [which is big], especially in a Grand Slam," Musetti said. "So for sure there is going to be a little bit of tension, but I think that is what I've been working for since my childhood. All the sacrifice and hard work I did in my childhood became reality now. So I'm just enjoying the moment and I will try to do my best."

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