Rising Italian star Lorenzo Musetti used the word "incredible" to describe the match against Kei Nishikori as he dropped a big praise on his opponent, calling the Japanese a "great champion." Musetti, ranked at No.
49 in the world, claimed back-to-back surprise wins at the Rome Masters after he defeated former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-3 6-4 to progress into the round-of-16. Musetti, who previously won three qualifying matches to make the main draw, stunned three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the Rome first round.
"It was an incredible match,” said Musetti, in an on-court interview, pe the ATP website. “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 just wants to be calm and positive on the court
Musetti, who claimed the first break of the match in the fourth game of the match, routinely served out for the opener in the ninth game.
In the second set, Musetti broke Nishikori in the ninth game, before serving out for the match a game later. "I always used to be warrior, a fighter, but I had a lot of ups and downs during the past year," said Musetti.
"This month, I tried to be calm and stay positive on court, and I think it's my best improvement in the past few weeks. Here in Rome, I'm feeling really well. Even today, I think I won mentally, because I played well on the tough points.
I think the key was this, the important points." Nishikori, who was playing only his second tournament of the season, admitted to needing more matches and confidence after his first round win in Rome. "Very happy to win.
I think winning is most important for now. I need to get a lot of confidence. It's been a long time since the US Open last year," Nishikori said on court after his victory, per the ATP website. "Happy to go through.
It wasn't maybe perfect yet, but hopefully one by one I'll get better." Meanwhile, Musetti now has a good chance to make the Rome quarterfinal as he plays next against German Dominik Koepfer.