Stefanos Tsitsipas finished a long day at the Foro Italico at 1:43 a.m. Wednesday morning when he defeated home favourite Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
When play began Tuesday in Rome, three Italian singles players remained in the tournament. By the end of the day, all three were eliminated, with Tsitsipas dispatching two of them. The fifth seed completed a straight-sets victory against Lorenzo Sonego in the afternoon and then ousted 18th seed Musetti in a match that did not begin until nearly midnight.
“It was a very full day, I’ll tell you that. Spent the entire day at the courts. It had to be done, the rain got in the way, so I’m happy the day ends like this,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “I put a great effort out there today. Tonight actually, not today!
“It’s been wonderful, delightful in fact, to be playing this way and I need to catch some Zs now, get ready. I think tomorrow’s a day off, so [I have] got to recharge and focus on the next one.”
The 24-year-old beat the last Italian in the field, but Musetti put up a big fight. The straight-sets scoreline does not show how closely the clash was contested.
Tsitsipas was on the verge of surging to a double-break advantage at the start of the match, but suddenly found himself back on serve at the end of the set. But the Italian gave it right back. Musetti tried to take a backhand early straight off the bounce and paid for that decision, mishitting the ball out on set point.
The Italian crowd tried to push its man through, cheering him to an early break in the second set. But in the critical moments, Tsitsipas was the steadier player to take a 5-0 lead in their ATP Head2Head series.
In the second-to-last match of the evening, reigning Cincinnati champion Borna Coric ended the dream run of Hungarian Fabian Marozsan 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. It is the Croatian’s second consecutive Masters 1000 quarter-final after reaching the semi-finals in Madrid, and he will next face Tsitsipas.
“I was working extremely hard in the last couple of months. I haven’t been playing well in the last couple of months,” Coric said in his on-court interview. “But I can say since actually last week I just started to feel better, I also started to play better and it’s just paying off now.”
Marozsan captivated the tennis world with his success in the Italian capital, where he qualified for his first ATP Tour main draw and earned a series of wins once there, including a third-round stunner over second seed Carlos Alcaraz.
The Hungarian was in position to go up a break in the second set but let slip two break points. That proved an important missed opportunity as Coric rallied for a two-hour, 10-minute win.
“I needed the first set just to feel how he plays and obviously he was also playing very, very good, also very fast and I just didn’t get used to that,” Coric said. “But then luckily in the second and in the third sets I just started to serve better and in the end I just found my rhythm.”