Tsitsipas Roars Back From Two Sets Down vs. Musetti
Stefanos Tsitsipas completed his third comeback from two sets down to inflict more Roland Garros heartbreak on Italy's Lorenzo Musetti on Tuesday evening. The fourth-seeded Greek started brightly but needed to dig deep in the end for a 5-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory that finished after 12:30 a.m. on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"Things don't come easy. I refuse to give up. That's simply how it works with me," Tsitsipas said. "You never really think about getting back after being two sets to love. You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off on a longer scale, longer run.
"Being in that situation... it's a mountain that you have to climb, and I was able to climb it and regain the momentum steadily, but consistently."
It's the second time in less than two years that Tsitsipas has produced a great escape in the opening round in Paris. He also came back from two sets down against Jaume Munar in September 2020 in the rescheduled edition of the clay-court Grand Slam. The Greek repeated the feat against Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Australian Open.
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Musetti, the #NextGenATP 20-year-old, had a tournament favourite on the ropes for the second straight year at Roland Garros. He won two tie-breaks to take control against eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the 2021 fourth round, but faded late in the match. He put more of a scare into Tsitsipas on this occasion, clawing back an early break in the fourth set, but never got close to a knockout blow.
"He's fighting. He's a talented player that has a very nice one-handed backhand. He knows the game on clay. He has grown up playing [on] these courts," Tsitsipas said. "He's definitely a difficult opponent to face in any circumstance, really."
Tsitsipas led 4-1 and held two break points at 15/40 in the opening set before Musetti went on a scintillating run, winning 10 of 11 games to lead by a set and 4-0. As the Italian found himself in the zone, his opponent could not find the court and struggled with a first-serve percentage below 50 per cent for much of the second set. Musetti took full advantage, alternating between aggression and consistency to great effect as Tsitsipas floundered.
Crucially, Tsitsipas found his footing with a break at love to close to 3-4. Musetti held firm to move within a set of the upset, but the Greek was building momentum for an unlikely comeback.
"Once I really found my momentum on the serve, my routines and everything, I knew that it can be a different match," Tsitsipas said. "I felt like I was serving better than him, creating more opportunities with my serve, pressing more. It would have been kind of not fair from my perspective to have a different outcome."