ATP 250 Sofia: Musetti gives in to Huesler, he was leading 5-1 in the tiebreak of the first set

Lorenzo Musetti (photo Sofia Open)

Losing always hurts, so even more so. Lorenzo Musetti yields 7-6 7-5 in the first semifinal of the ATP 250 in Sofia against the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler in an extremely balanced match, dominated by the serve, but in which the Tuscan had the best chances. In fact Musetti in the tiebreak of the first set was ahead 5-1, with a splendid, offensive, almost perfect tennis. With a couple of errors and a very serious double fault he put the Swiss back on track, who placed a paw of 6 points in a row, making sure the first set. In the second partial still great balance. The only game really struggled is on Huesler’s serve, the break point also arrives for Lorenzo. The Swiss played well, with courage – serve and volley on the second ball – but the Tuscan’s blocked response was too conservative. Forward 6-5, Huesler risks, Lorenzo commits a serious double fault and then suffers a precise attack from his rival on the match point. A game turned on very few points, but it is correct to point out that Huesler played those few points better.

A real shame because Musetti overall played a more complete tennis, he led most of the exchanges and except for the two empty passes he also served well. But he was too shy in response. He mostly looked for the blocked solution, on which a very tidy and gifted striker with a great touch like the Swiss left-handed went to the wedding. A real shame because it was a match in which he was fairly favorite, there was the possibility of playing a final, perhaps against Jannik Sinner.

Applause to Huesler, precise, concrete, extremely serene and positive. Not a smudge, he went to take the important points with his attacks. He played the game he wanted to play: excellent in service, he alternated angles to avoid giving reference points to the blue, who in fact never managed to pick up a rhythm in response. Furthermore Huesler took risks using his best weapons. A tennis player with a very interesting touch at the net, and although he is not particularly fast, he manages to cover the field quite well because he reads the exchange; moreover, when he advances he always finds the best director to get on the net ready to close in flight, a quality that is not common in our times. In the touches above his head he did not do anything wrong, even when called to play out of balance. Chapeau.

A dream week for the Swiss, who will play the first ATP final in his career, with full merit. But it remains a burning defeat for the blue, because when Lorenzo managed to nail his rival in the exchange or force him to work with the forehand, his limits became evident. Musetti will have to draw an important lesson from this setback: the answer is the blow in which he must make a real qualitative leap.even more than the first bar (which all in all worked out well today, except for those two “no” moments). Huesler served very well, but Lorenzo’s response was too shy. When you have one that serves so well, containing with the shot blocked is the best way to try to trade and thus take the lead. But if you don’t try to respond by entering the ball every now and then, whoever is serving … serves too “serene” because he is fairly aware that the opponent will not put great pressure on him. Risking from time to time a stronger, angled, definitive blow, or even a blow to the foot in the center, could have brought him direct errors, but perhaps it would have been a key to putting Huesler’s pressure – and therefore less security in the service – which instead does not have warned.

Very positive Huesler, really good and also elegant in his tennis, but what a pity Musetti. It remains an excellent indoor semifinal, but there are also regrets. If he had won the first set, who knows …

Marco Mazzoni

The match report.

Musetti starts at the bar. The forehand is already “hot”, with an Ace he closes the first game to zero. The Swiss southpaw serves his first game, and serve is the key in his tennis. When the first ball is not incisive, Lorenzo enters well in response and the discreet slowness of the 26-year-old Swiss comes out immediately. With two Ace and another excellent first, he gets away from the dangerous 15-30. In the few exchanges played Musetti seems clearly superior, but even in the service he continues to hammer the blue well. In the fourth game Marc-Andrea gives the 15-30 with a comfortable long volley, but thanks to the serve he wins 3 points in a row for the 2 all. Musetti works very well with the external service scheme loaded and therefore entitled to an impregnable foil, Huesler does not even try. On 3 equal 30-30, Musetti does not close a smash that is not impossible but finds an author demi-volée, a very difficult shot touched with a sensational sensitivity. However, he does not close with the backhand in the following exchange and for the first time a game reaches the advantages. The blue without risk also closes the seventh game. Moments of discreet offensive tennis, even by a Lorenzo often projected to the net to avoid being attacked and to expose the uncertainties in defense of his rival. Neither of them even reaches the break point, the first set is decided by the tiebreaker. Immediately ahead “Muzzle”, good at closing with a smash anything but easy. 1-0. Splendid in response Lorenzo! Great blocked response, which forces the Swiss to a very complicated volley under the net, and off to the backhand passer. 2-0 Musetti. Forward all the Tuscan, he follows his lunges after having found the corner and closes safely with the volley. 4-1 Lorenzo, who shouts a “Bravoooo” after having hit a difficult sprint with excellent quality. Huesler lost the first serve in TB, with a double foul is 5-1 Musetti. Lorenzo is distracted, a mistake in law and then a double fault, he throws away the advantage, with the Swiss serving under 5-4. With an excellent first ball, we are 5 even. With a winning right, Huesler wins the fifth point in a row and gets the first set point. Musetti loses the tiebreak with an erroraccio of right in exchange, a classic mistake not forced. From 5-1 forward, the blue loses 6 points in a row, some badly played. 7-6 Huesler.

Second set, serves Huesler. At zero he wins his first game, and considering the tiebreak, the Swiss won 10 points in a row. Stops the Musetti bleeding, including a blunt with a splendid backhand. 1 even. After the thrills and shock of the tiebreak, the second set also advances along the lines of the first, with the domination of the serve and few exchanges. In the first 4 games, the partial for those who serve is 16 points to 2. On the 3 all there is a crack in response for Lorenzo: he responds on 0-15 and the second ball. He looks for an answer cut off the blue, but the ball “takes off” becoming a sort of short ball… not so short. Huesler is quick to arrive and close, as well as the following points, with great confidence. 4-3 ahead of the Swiss. Another “chance” for Lorenzo in response on 4 all, 30-30. Marc-Andrea finds the tenth Ace, but then passed from an excellent backhand cross from Musetti. 40 all, for the second time in the match. He pushes Huesler with the right, but the ball was low and not easy, his right ends OUT. It is the first break point of the match, at 7-6 4-4, it is a chance for Lorenzo in response. The first ball does not enter… with leonino courage he risks the serve and volley on the second, he tries a long line back Musetti but with an excellent hand Huesler touches winning flight. Great point. He trades on parity, the blue is the first to make a mistake with the right cross. It’s a big mistake because of the scoring situation and because he was in control of the rally. There is great tennis in this phase: now it is “Muzzle” who enchants with a narrow backhand pass of pure touch. The Swiss with the service moves forward 5-4. Now all the pressure is on Musetti. He risks a dampened by leaving the blue on the first point, excellent execution. With authority he brings 5 ​​even. At 6-5 Huesler, the Swiss won an exchange under the net in response. 30-30. Double fault Musetti. It is a match point for the Swiss. And the first service does not enter. Uff .. touch the tape on the second, tons of pressure on Lorenzo. The second ball is soft, he enters with the backhand response “as a doubler”, Musetti makes a mistake with the backhand pulled in recovery. He ends here, 7-6 7-5. A match in which the Swiss played flawlessly, but the blue must complain. Losing a 5-1 forward tiebreak is a rock, as is not having exploited the only break point of the match.

ATP Sofia

Lorenzo Musetti [4]

6

5

Marc-Andrea Huesler

7

7

Winner: Huesler

7 ACES 10
3 DOUBLE FAULT 4
48/68 (71%) FIRST SERVES 48/75 (64%)
39/48 (81%) 1ST SERVE POINTS WON 40/48 (83%)
11/20 (55%) 2ND SERVE POINTS WON 16/27 (59%)
0/1 (0%) BREAK POINTS SAVED 1/1 (100%)
12 SERVICE GAMES PLAYED 12
8/48 (17%) 1ST SERVE RETURN POINTS WON 9/48 (19%)
11/27 (41%) 2ND SERVES RETURN POINTS WON 9/20 (45%)
0/1 (0%) BREAK POINTS CONVERTED 1/1 (100%)
12 RETURN GAMES PLAYED 12
10/13 (77%) NET POINTS WON 14/23 (61%)
29 WINNERS 24
13 UNFORCED ERRORS 15
50/68 (74%) SERVICE POINTS WON 56/75 (75%)
19/75 (25%) RETURN POINTS WON 18/68 (26%)
69/143 (48%) TOTAL POINTS WON 74/143 (52%)
212 km / h MAX SPEED 213 km / h
194 km / h 1ST SERVES AVERAGE SPEED 200 km / h
160 km / h 2ND SERVES AVERAGE SPEED 152 km / h

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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