When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
It was a difficult start to 2022 for Lorenzo Musetti but the young Italian is showing no signs of backing down from the challenges of the ATP Tour.
The #NextGenATP star claimed the second biggest win of his career on Wednesday as he took out World No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 second-round win at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
Choosing to play in Rotterdam could be seen as a brave move for natural clay-courter Musetti as he seeks confidence-building wins after two disappointing first-round exits in Australia to start his year. Yet he believes the challenge of adjusting to new environments is key to his development.
“I played in Australia with a little bit of stress, and I had two tough matches with two great opponents,” said the World No. 63 after the Hurkacz win. “From losses you take a lot of experience, especially as younger players, so for me it’s really helpful and I decided to play indoors on a hard court because it is maybe my worst surface. I didn’t think about being here [in the quarter-finals] but I’m really enjoying it.”
Musetti’s return game was particularly impressive against Hurkacz as he achieved the impressive feat of breaking the Pole’s booming serve three times.
The 2021 Miami Open presented by Itau winner Hurkacz hit 37 winners to Musetti’s 22, but the Italian chose his moments to step up his game and dropped just one point on his first serve in the deciding set to book a quarter-final meeting with either home favourite Botic van de Zandschulp or Czech Jiri Lehecka.
The victory gives Musetti a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, and the Italian was pleased with how he kept focus to upset the fourth seed.
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“You can see what he can do with the serve, especially in the second and third sets,” said Musetti. “It’s so tough to break him but we know each other a little bit because it was the third time that we’ve played. I started well, really aggressive and I think the key was to keep my serve and try to break him in the games when he was not serving so good. A little bit of up and down in the second but I think I managed well in the third set so I’m really happy.”
With several big seeds falling early in Rotterdam, Musetti sees an open opportunity to extend his run. “I think everyone has the potential to win every tournament,” said the Italian. “I’m really enjoying it here. I hope to play another good match and fingers crossed I hope to get to the semi-final.”