Lorenzo Musetti proved that his first-round victory over Stan Wawrinka was no fluke on Thursday night as he continued his giant-killing run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The 18-year-old qualifier showed no fear in dispatching former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4 at the Foro Italico for a clash against Dominik Koepfer or fifth seed Gael Monfils at the Foro Italico. Musetti is the first Italian teenager to reach the Last 16 in Rome since 19-year-old Diego Nargiso in 1989.
“It was an incredible match,” said Musetti, in an on-court interview. “I think I played really smart, as he was playing close to the baseline. It was different to Wawrinka, they are great champions. I am really happy right now. I felt really good on my forehand from the beginning. I could play more offensively on return, than against Stan.”
Musetti, currently No. 249 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, saved three break points at 1-1 in the first set, then showcased easy power off both wings to break Nishikori in the third game. Musetti’s weight of shot kept Nishikori behind the baseline and he clinched the 43-minute opener with a smash winner — his 11th winner of the set.
Nishikori, who earned his first victory since 28 August 2019 over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Monday, drew on years of experience to save two break points at 2-3, and while the Japanese star was unable to convert two break points in the next game, he was left to rue missing a volley when Musetti served at 3-4, 0/30.
At 4-4, with Nishikori serving at 30/15, the floodlights went off on Court Centrale and play resumed after a 12-minute delay. Musetti won three of the next four points to break for his second ATP Tour win, then calmly recovered from 0/30 when serving for the match.
© Peter Staples/ATP Tour