Musetti Shows His Love Affair With Tennis At Queen’s Club

Lorenzo Musetti (photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, June 22, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

Lorenzo Musetti‘s love of tennis is evident by the way he plays with his heart on his sleeve – especially on British grass.

On Saturday afternoon at the ATP 500 cinch Championships in West London, the 22-year-old from Carrara, Italy became the fourth Italian Queen’s Club finalist in the Open Era following Laurence Tieleman in 1998 and Matteo Berrettini in 2021-22 after defeating No. 43 Jordan Thompson of Australia, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in two hours and 18 minutes on Centre Court.

The World No. 30 Musetti struck 14 of his 27 winners in the final set and hit just four unforced errors in the decider. He recovered nicely from a mid-match dip while raising the level of his game by the end. After securing victory on his first match point, which came a game after he broke Thompson to push ahead 5-3, Musetti dramatically fell to the ground in celebration of reaching his first ATP Tour final in two years. He outpointed Thompson 93-83.

“It was one of the toughest matches of this week,” Musetti said in his on-court interview after improving his 2024 win-loss record to 18-16. “Jordan was playing a really amazing level, especially in the second and third sets. It was really a close one, a really tough match. It was a key moment for me in the third [set] to hold serve to the end. I am really proud of my achievement.”

Musetti, who turned pro in 2019, is through to his third career tour-level final after having won his first two – at Hamburg and Naples, both in 2022. He has now reached ATP Tour finals on clay, grass and hard courts.

While the thirty-year-old Thompson struggled with back problems as he looked to reach his fourth tour-level final on grass, Musetti showed why he’s been a battler throughout the entire tournament. At the beginning of the week, he strung together back-to-back three-set wins over No. 2 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia and Brandon Nakashima of the United States, then defeated British wild card Billy Harris in Friday’s quarterfinals. He’s raised his live ranking to 25th.

Musetti is now 7-1 on grass courts this season after advancing to the semifinal round in Stuttgart last week. With the start of the Wimbledon Championships just eight days away, Musetti is feeling good about his game. He’s regained confidence and a sense of belief in himself.

“I love the sport, I’m really passionate about tennis,” Musetti said. “Since I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a tennis player, to become No. 1 in the world. I care about people and I’m surrounded by people who love me. This win is for them.”

Paul wins all-American battle against Korda

In Sunday’s final, Musetti will play No. 5 seed Tommy Paul of the United States – the only seed remaining – who defeated fellow American Sebastian Korda, 6-4, 7-6 (2), in an hour and 41 minutes. It will be their first meeting.

Paul, 27, advanced to his sixth career ATP Tour final – and second on grass – by hitting 24 winners to just 12 unforced errors while converting three of six break points. Korda played the final set with a heavily bandaged right ankle, after taking a nasty spill behind the baseline while serving at 4-5 (0-30) in the opening set.

The No. 23 Korda hit 18 winners to 16 unforced errors and broke Paul twice in three attempts. Paul outpointed Korda 74-65 to reach his third final of the season.

“I’m happy with how I am playing. I feel every time I step on the grass, I learn something and I’m getting a little better,” Paul said in his on-court interview, after securing his 26th victory of the season in his 36th match. “Hopefully, tomorrow will be a little better.

Paul’s triumph avenged a quarterfinal loss to Korda at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week with his attacking play on Saturday. He’s now 2-4 lifetime against Korda.

“I don’t think it was any secret between the two us, we [both] wanted to play offense. I felt like I did a pretty good job today. … I’d rather play [Sebi] in the semis than the first round,” he said.

Looking ahead to Sunday afternoon’s final, Paul can surpass World No. 12 Taylor Fritz to become the American No. 1 for the first time in his career with a title win.

Around The Queen’s Club

• Singles stars Taylor Fritz of the United States and Karen Khachanov of Russia advanced to Sunday’s doubles final after upsetting No. 3 seeds Marcelo Arevalo-Gonzalez of El Salvador and Mate Pavic of Croatia, 4-6, 6-3, 12-10. The American/Russian duo saved a match point during the match tie-break at 8-9, then won the semifinal on their second match point. They outpointed their opponents 64-61.

Fritz and Khachanov, who are teaming for the first time, upset the top-seeded team of Rohan Bopanna of India and Matthew Ebden of Australia during Friday’s quarterfinal round, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3). In Sunday’s final, Fritz and Khachanov will face No. 7 seeds Neal Skupski of Great Britain and Michael Venus of New Zealand, who beat defending champions and No. 4 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the United States, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Saturday’s cinch Championships results

Sunday’s cinch Championships order of play

By the numbers

Tommy Paul is the first American finalist at cinch Championships since an all-American final in 2010, when Sam Querrey beat Mardy Fish to lift the Queen’s Club trophy.

“Quotable …”

“He saw a specialist yesterday evening and he’s basically trying to decide what his next move is.

“I don’t think it’s right for me to go into that personally, that’s up to him, but I think he has got a few decisions to make.

“It’s obviously incredibly disappointing for him that this was potentially going to be his last Queen’s, last Wimbledon and Olympics, and there’s a potential that that might not be able to happen.

“I think he’s got to make a few decisions, and see where he goes from there.”

Jamie Murray, cinch Championships tournament Director, in an interview with the BBC on Friday, discussing his brother Andy Murray’s situation regarding having a back procedure on Saturday.