|Italian teenager Musetti stuns Wawrinka in Rome|
ROME, Sept 16: Local teenager Lorenzo Musetti stunned Stan Wawrinka 6-0, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Italian Open for a memorable first win on tour.
Out-hitting Wawrinka’s famed backhand with a one-handed version of his own, the 18-year-old qualifier moved the three-time Grand Slam champion from corner to corner and displayed an all-court game that belied his years.
Musetti became the first player born in 2002 to win on the ATP tour – after fellow Italian Jannik Sinner achieved the feat last year for players born in 2001.
Wawrinka, who chose not to travel to the US Open, appeared rusty and committed a series of errors early on.
“In the first set and the beginning of the second there was no match,” said Musetti, who won the first eight games.
As the match wore on, though, and Wawrinka began to put up more of a fight, Musetti continued hitting winners and delicate drop volleys. He even had more aces than the hard-serving Wawrinka – five to three.
“I kept thinking, ‘I’m up a set and a break against Wawrinka and he’s starting to click now,’” said the 249th-ranked Musetti, who needed a wild card to get into the qualifying tournament.
“Everything was in place for me to fail. But I’ve been working on the mental aspect of the game the most, and I’ve improved a lot over the last month.
“To get to win my first match here in Rome – unfortunately without fans – I don’t have words to describe it,” he added.
Musetti, who came through qualifying, was the runner-up in the 2018 US Open junior final and then won the Australian Open junior title in 2019. He’s one of a record eight Italians to have reached the second round in Rome.
Roman-born Matteo Berrettini, a US Open semifinalist last year, is seeded No. 4 this week. And Marco Cecchinato, the 2018 French Open semifinalist, defeated Kyle Edmund 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, to end a seven-match losing streak. – AP