Musetti One Win Closer To His First ATP Tour Final

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Lorenzo Musetti moved to within one win of achieving his first ATP Tour final at the Forte Village Sardegna Open in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy, on Friday following a second-set comeback.

The 18-year-old Italian wild card recovered from an 0-4 deficit in the second set against 101st-ranked Yannick Hanfmann of Germany after winning the opening set 6-2. Then, Musetti won six consecutive games to triumph 6-2, 6-4 in 88 minutes.

Musetti is the youngest ATP Tour semifinalist since 18-year-old Jannik Sinner at last year’s European Open in Antwerp. His win over Hanfmann avenged a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss in the second round of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Todi, Italy, two months ago.

Musetti will face No. 74 Laslo Djere in the semifinal round of the ATP 250 event on Saturday. The Serbian reached his 10th ATP Tour clay-court semifinal with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 67 Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in 83 minutes.

The other semifinal will pair the Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato against 166th-ranked lucky loser Danilo Petrovic of Serbia, who defeated Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Cecchinato came back from a set down to beat No. 45 Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, while Petrovic ousted Delbonis 7-6 (3), 6-1.

Meanwhile, doubles No. 1 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, both from Colombia, reached the final with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 4 seeds Simone Bolelli of Italy and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina. They will face No. 3 seeds Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Philipp Oswald from Austria for the title.

• Saturday’s order of play begins with the Musetti-Djere semifinal at 11 a.m. (Central European Time) followed not before 12:30 p.m. by the Petrovic-Cecchinato semifinal. The double final is scheduled for not before 1:30 p.m.

• The last time there were two Italians in an ATP semifinal was at Munich in 2019 with Matteo Berrettini and Marco Cecchinato.

Tiley remains confident for 2021 Australian Open

In an interview earlier this week with Australian Associated Press, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said he remains confident that next January’s Australian Open will happen – but it will need government assistance.

“We’re getting to crunch time now. We need commitments from the governments and the health officers,” says Tiley.

Wimbledon plans return in 2021 – with or without fans

The Wimbledon Championships was the only Grand Slam that did not take place in 2020. However, after cancelling this year’s event for the first time since 1945, the All England Club announced Friday it is scheduled to run next year from June 28-July 11. The club said it could be held at full capacity, reduced capacity or without fans.

“Staging The Championships in 2021 is our number one priority and we are actively engaged in scenario planning in order to deliver on that priority,” All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said.

Vondrousova pulls out of J &T Banka Ostrava Open

World No. 20 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s WTA Premier J & T Banka Ostrava Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic, after testing positive for Covid-19.

“I’m disappointed, but there’s nothing I can do. I feel quite good, so hopefully it will stay that way,” said Vondrousova on Friday, posted on the tournament’s social media.

The WTA’s final Premier-level event of the year begins Saturday with weekend qualifying. The top four seeds in the 24-player qualifying draw are: Veronika Kudermetova of Russia (ranked 47th), Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic (No. 51), Coco Gauff of the United States (No. 55) and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland (No. 58). Six qualifiers will be advanced into the main draw that begins Monday. Headlining the main draw are World No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic.

Ultimate Tennis Showdown 3 in Antwerp this weekend

The third edition of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, the brainchild of International coach Patrick Mouratoglou, is taking place this weekend in Antwerp, Belgium, site of next week’s ATP 250 European Open. The UTS made its debut during the summer at the Mouratoglou Academy near Nice, France.

For UTS 3, there are six competitors divided into two groups. Group A, which played its pool matches on Friday evening featured Alex de Minaur, Pablo Andújar, and Dan Evans. Group B, which plays its pool matches on Saturday, features: Taylor Fritz, Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez.

De Minaur won both of his Group A matches without losing a quarter, against Evans and Andújar, to advance to Sunday’s final. He will oppose the winner from Group B.

What they’re saying

• World No. 6 Daniil Medvedev was asked this week at the St. Petersburg Open his thoughts about the trend towards the use of electronic line judging and the elimination of challenges. He said: “I think the world is moving more towards digital solutions in all sports. Of course, such [a] system is more objective, as there is no human factor. There are no mistakes from linesmen’s side. … The automated voice just tells you whether you hit in or out. I think this system is more objective.”

Stan Wawrinka was asked this week in St. Petersburg about Rafael Nadal‘s 13th French Open title at Roland Garros. He had plenty of praise for Nadal:

“What happened at the French Open this year is one of the greatest achievements of any sports probably – I mean, winning for the 13th time the French Open. The way Nadal is doing it is something amazing. I had the chance to play him there at the French Open and I almost got killed, so I know how difficult it is to play there. I think it’s always difficult to compare players, especially those amazing athletes who are still playing. I think we have to wait and see. I think we have to enjoy more that they are still playing and still doing something amazing for sports in general. That’s something I love to watch; I love to watch them play. As long as they play, I will enjoy that.”

Happy 23rd Birthday, Naomi Osaka

What they’re sharing on social media