Musetti After Goffin Win: 'This Is Proof I Have The Level'
Nine months ago, the #NextGenATP Italian was still outside the Top 250 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. But now the World No. 76, he has proven a tough foe for any opponent, dismissing 2016 quarter-finalist Goffin after two hours and 18 minutes.
"I think this is the proof that I have the level. Sometimes when I am not focussed and not playing really good, of course my level is not like today. For sure I am playing better when I'm without pressure because today, I was playing really relaxed," Musetti said. "Of course, it was not easy to win even if I was relaxed. When you play against the [No.]13 in the world, it's not the same thing [like] playing [someone] worse than you [in] the rankings that you must [beat]."
Despite a slow start, Belgian put pressure on the 19-year-old, breaking the Italian when he served for the match twice in the third set. But Musetti did not fold, aggressively finishing the match with impressive shotmaking to advance in Paris.
"I was a little bit under pressure when I was serving for the match. He was always returning from the baseline really close to the line. He was giving me a lot of pressure," Musetti said. "I just stayed calm and tried to think at each point, like the last one. I tried to [not] speak, [not] talk. It worked. I am happy about that."
Musetti broke serve six times and saved six of the eight break points he faced. Goffin, who made it to at least the third round here in five of the past six years, made 48 unforced errors, nearly doubling his opponent's count (27). The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up felt the level on both sides was best towards the end of the match.
"I think the match started too late on my side. And then of course when you start too late and you have an opportunity and you just have one, if you don't take it, then it's too late," Goffin said. "Then he finished it really well in the tie-break. But I think at the end, he was just solid. He played high, he served well, played higher with some spin and waiting for the mistake or the opportunity just to go for his shot."
"It was a tough game for me. For sure everybody loves him. Everyone was hoping he was going to beat me. But I was trying [to play] my best tennis, [the best] I can do right now," Nishioka said on court. "It was not an easy game... [I am] very happy to be through to the second round."
Nishioka beat Musetti 6-3, 6-2 in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting last week in Parma.
There was an upset when Rome semi-finalist Lorenzo Sonego was eliminated. South African Lloyd Harris beat the 26th seed 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 and will face British lefty Cameron Norrie for a spot in the third round. The winner of that match could potentially take one 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, who opens his tournament on Tuesday against Aussie Alexei Popyrin.
Did You Know?
This was Musetti's fifth win of the season against a Top 20 opponent.