Magical Musetti Lights Up Monte Carlo
#NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti captured the second Top 10 win of his career Wednesday, overcoming World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-2, 7-6(2), to reach the third round at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
The 20-year-old produced a high-quality performance on Court Rainier III as he demonstrated great court-craft, sweeping backhands and firing forehands past the Canadian to improve to 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“I live here and practise here,” Musetti said in his on-court interview. “It is nice to be here and play here in front of such a crowd. I am really happy. My backhand down the line was a key to many of my great shots. After a really good first set, he came back with such powerful serving, but I was calm and patient and that was the most beautiful thing about today.”
Musetti, who defeated then-World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman in Acapulco in 2021, has achieved some of the best results of his career on clay. The World No. 83 advanced to the semi-finals in Lyon last year, before he soared to the fourth round at Roland Garros, where he won two sets against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Following his one-hour, 42-minute victory against Auger-Aliassime, Musetti will next meet 12th seed Schwartzman after the Argentine downed Marton Fucsovics, 6-0, 7-6(4).
“Diego knows how to run and how to defend and attack, so it is going to be a really great battle,” Musetti added. “Diego was my first Top 10 win, so let’s see if I can double up the score. I hope to play a great match.”
In a lively encounter in front of a raucous crowd, Musetti quickly found top gear as he caused Auger-Aliassime problems with his shotmaking. The Italian hit 10 winners and did not face a break point in the set, sealing the opener with a clean backhand volley.
Musetti then showed everyone that his game has substance as well as style, battling back from 1-3 in the second set as he zoned in on Auger-Aliassime’s backhand with his heavy hitting.
The Italian timed the ball perfectly throughout, flicking passing shots against the stranded Canadian with regularity. While Auger-Aliassime was able to force a tie-break, Musetti was relentless as he continued to turn the tables in points, defending well from deep behind the baseline before striking the ball with deadly precision as he advanced.
Auger-Aliassime, who has never been beyond the second round in four appearances in Monte Carlo, has now won just one match since he captured the title in Rotterdam and reached the final in Marseille in February.