Wimbledon 2024: Italy's Musetti Holds Off Fritz In Five Sets, To Meet Djokovic In Semifinals

(MENAFN- IANS) London, July 10 (IANS) All eyes in Italy were on Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon but it is Lorenzo Musetti who has kept the country's hopes alive by reaching the semifinals and setting up a clash with 24-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic, who progressed to the semifinal after Australian Alex de Minaur withdrew due to an injury.

Musetti delivered arguably the Grand Slam performance of his career so far on Wednesday to outlast Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 3-6. 6-1 in a quarterfinal clash at the grass-court major. In doing so, the 22-year-old became just the fourth Italian men's singles semifinalist in event history.

Even after World No.1 Sinner fell to Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday, Musetti gave an immediate reminder of the strength-in-depth of Italian tennis with a classy and composed display in his maiden major quarterfinal. The 25th seed deployed his slice backhand to great effect to outfox an elite grass-court opponent and set a last-four meeting with Djokovic.

The two-time ATP Tour titlist Musetti composed himself superbly in the deciding set after Fritz had snatched the fourth via a break in the eighth game. The Italian raced to a double-break lead with some of his best tennis of the match before sealing a three-hour, 27-minute quarter-final triumph.

The foundation of Musetti's triumph in his debut appearance on the All-England Club's No. 1 Court was his serve. The No. 25 in the ATP Rankings won 76 per cent (63/83) of points behind his first delivery, and that stability allowed him to express himself freely in return games. Musetti converted six of the 13 break points he earned against one of the biggest servers on the ATP Tour.

The penultimate point of the match was a good example of the way Musetti found his magic touch in the final set. He produced a well-disguised drop shot which Fritz chased courageously. The American caught his leg in the court as he tried to slide and the crowd held its breath, but fortunately, he was soon up to face match point.

There was nothing the three-time Eastbourne champion Fritz could do to rescue the match situation, however. Musetti served out for a famous victory to join his countrymen Nicola Pietrangeli (1960), Matteo Berrettini (2021), and Sinner (2023) as a Wimbledon semifinalist.

Alex de Minaur pulled out from Wimbledon before his quarterfinal clash against Djokovic due to an injury.

The ninth-seeded Australian announced he was unable to compete against the seven-time champion Djokovic. At a press conference, De Minaur had spoken of jarring his hip in the closing stages of his fourth-round victory against Arthur Fils, and he was unable to recover in time to take on the second-seeded Djokovic on Centre Court on Wednesday.

"I'm devastated, but I had to pull out due to a hip injury, a little tear of the fiber cartilage that is at the end to the adductor," De Minaur said. "I felt a loud crack during the last three points of my match against Fils and got a scan yesterday and it confirms that this was the injury. [There is] a high risk of making it worse if I was to step on court."



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