Dominic Stricker became the first player to book his spot in the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Wednesday when he overcame Lorenzo Musetti 4-3(5), 4-3(6), 3-4(7), 3-4(6), 4-3(3) in a late-night Milan thriller.
The Swiss lefty downed Jack Draper in his opening match on debut in Milan and backed up that win with an aggressive performance against Italian Musetti. Stricker struck his topspin forehand with precision and showcased his fighting spirit, saving two set points in the second-set tie-break before eventually triumphing after two hours and 28 minutes.
The lefty squandered one match point in the third-set tie-break, but regrouped to hold his nerve in the decider, blasting an array of winners to upset the home favourite Musetti in a match that will go down in tournament history.
The seventh seed Stricker now holds a 2-0 record in the Red Group and has qualified for Friday’s semi-finals. Musetti will take on Draper on Thursday in the Red Group in a winner-takes-all clash at the Allianz Cloud, with both going 1-1 in their opening matches.
The 21-and-under event plays host to a range of rules and innovations that are not used at tour-level events. One of those is the video review system, which came into force for the first time this week during the clash to see whether Musetti had volleyed the ball before it crossed the net. The outcome indicated Musetti had not.
The 20-year-old Stricker, who fired 20 aces against Musetti, earned four Top 40 wins this season and captured two ATP Challenger Tour titles.
Did You Know?
Dominic Stricker has now won six tie-breaks, having defeated Jack Draper 4-3(5), 4-3(5), 4-3(5) in his opening match.