Former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori praised the game of rising Italian star Lorenzo Musetti following their Rome Masters clash. Nishikori, now ranked at No. 35 in the world, was beaten in straight sets by world No. 249 Musetti as the Italian won 6-3 6-4.
Musetti, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 249 in the world, won three qualifying matches to make the Rome main draw. The 18-year-old then stunned three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and 2014 US Open runner-up Nishikori to make his maiden round-of-16 at the Masters level.
Nishikori, a 12-time ATP champion, thinks the Italian will make himself a nice career on the Tour. "He is a good player, especially on clay...good backhand too. Good serve, he can come in well, so he can do pretty much everything so that’s I think a big weapon...I would say he is going to be pretty good," Nishikori said of Musetti, per Ravi Ubha.
Musetti also spoke highly of Nishikori
Following their second round clash, Musetti kept it respectful as he said it was an "incredible match" against a "great champion." After saving three break points in the third game of the first set, Musetti claimed the first break of the match in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead.
No more break points were seen in the rest of the set as Musetti routinely served out for the set in the ninth game. The Italian earned the first break of the second set in the ninth game, before serving out for the match in the following game.
"It was an incredible match,” said Musetti, in an on-court interview, per 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. "I always used to be warrior, a fighter, but I had a lot of ups and downs during the past year.
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."