Competing in his second ATP tournament in a career and the first at the Masters 1000 level, an 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti took down Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori to reach the last 16 in Rome. Following his first ATP win against Stan, Lorenzo grabbed another one over a former top-5 player, beating Nishikori 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 42 minutes, becoming the youngest player in the last 16 at this level since Denis Shapovalov in Montreal 2017.
The youngster won ten points more than the Japanese, fending off all five break chances and stealing Kei's serve once in each set to notch the second ATP victory and secure the place in the top-200. Musetti held in the first game with two service winners at deuce to get his name on the scoreboard, playing against three break chances in game three.
Nishikori wasted them all (two service winners from a teenager), allowing Lorenzo to bring the game home with a forehand down the line winner and gain momentum. Defending his one-handed backhand nicely, Musetti broke at 15 after forcing Nishikori's error in the fourth game, holding at 15 with another emphatic forehand winner to gain a 4-1 lead.
Kei held at love in game six to reduce the deficit, followed by a forehand winner from Lorenzo who opened a 5-2 gap, moving forward to the opening set. Showing no signs of nerves, Lorenzo closed the opening set with a smash winner in game nine, hoping for more of the same for the rest of the encounter.
Both players held at love in the opening four games of the second set before Nishikori fended off two break chances in game five with winners, staying on the positive side of the scoreboard and creating two opportunities for a break in the next game.
Musetti repelled them both and grabbed a break at 4-4 after forcing an error from Kei. Serving for the victory, Lorenzo forced a mistake from Kei in game ten to seal the deal and advance into the last 16, facing another qualifier Dominik Koepfer there.
Lorenzo Musetti is the youngest player in the Masters 1000 R16 since 2017.
The German took down the 5th seed Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 31 minutes for the best possible Masters 1000 debut, facing Musetti for the place in the quarters.
A former Tulane University star had the upper hand against a much better-ranked rival, suffering one break and delivering four to find himself in the last 16. Koepfer clinched breaks in games three and five in the opener, producing two excellent holds for a 6-2 and a massive boost.
Monfils got broken in games five and seven in set number two and had no rhythm on the return outside that one break, sending Dominic over the finish line after a hold at love in game ten. Dusan Lajovic defeated the 13th seed Milos Raonic 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes, securing breaks in games four and eight in the decider to set Rafael Nadal clash.