Musetti Denies Dimitrov To Reach Acapulco SF
Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti will contest his maiden ATP Tour 500 semi-final, following a straight-sets upset of former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in Acapulco on Thursday night. The #NextGenATP contender needed seven match points to end the former Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC champion’s charge, 6-4 7-6(3).
Playing in only 11th tour-level main draw match, Musetti booked a clash against top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in his first tour final. After three qualifying matches and back-to-back three-setters to reach the quarter-finals, the 19-year-old showed remarkable stamina and poise to stay with the Bulgarian fifth seed.
“It's incredible really. I didn't expect this,” Musetti said in his on-court interview. “Today I think I played the best match in my life. Grigor is an incredible opponent, a great fighter. Even today, I had a lot of match points and was really difficult for my coach."
Having reeled in his younger opponent from 1-4 down to level, Dimitrov was unable to carry momentum as he conceded the opening set two games later. Serving to stay alive at 4-5 in the second set, a string of three straight errors from the Bulgarian gifted the teenager triple match point.
Dimitrov drew on all his experience under pressure as he saved all three and a fourth before a crucial hold for 5-all. After Musetti landed the first ace from either player to hold for 6-5, an untimely fifth double fault from Dimitrov handed his opponent a fifth match point.
But an aggressive forehand into the corner again kept him alive and as the pair headed for a tie-break, it was Musetti who cast aside his earlier misses to steal the initiative, as he jumped to a commanding 6/2 lead.
Match point No. 6 came and went before he sealed the result after two hours and nine minutes. Victory, too, assured him of a Top 100 debut in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.
“I feel that I really like winning and don't like losing, so I try to stay focused even in the hard moments, and I think this is the key and the improvement that I made this month,” he said. “[Tsitsipas] is one of the biggest guys on tour. It's really an honour to play with him… I think this week every day it's something more special so let's see tomorrow what happens.”