Sinner, Musetti Set The Tone In Lyon

Jannik Sinner (photo: Alexandre Hergott / Open Parc)

LYON/STARNBERG, May 19, 2021

Two Italian young guns headlined Wednesday’s action at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon. Lorenzo Musetti emerged victorious from the battle of the #NextGenATP stars, beating 20-year-old US-American Sebastian Korda 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 clay-court event in France’s third-biggest city.

In front of a capacity crowd of 500 spectators, the 19-year-old Carrara native won one point more than Korda in a highly-entertaining encounter to prevail after exactly two hours of play. Up next for Musetti will be Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who edged past No. 4 seed David Goffin 7-6(4), 6-3 after one hour and 47 minutes.

Later in a rain-interrupted afternoon in Lyon, Jannik Sinner opened his title bid with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Russian Aslan Karatsev. The No. 6 seed from South Tyrol capitalized on three of his 10 break-point chances to advance to the second round after two hours and 32 minutes.

“It was tough,” said Sinner, who lost to Karatsev in three sets at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in March. “He is a great player, especially this year with some big results. I dug deep today and I am happy to have won today. It’s definitely good to have the support of the crowd in order to come back from Aslan’s fast start.

Nineteen-year-old Sinner will next take on French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech, who defeated Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 in two hours and 22 minutes. It was just his fourth ATP Tour match win.

Thiem getting ready

Earlier in the day, top seed Dominic Thiem met the media representatives in his virtual pre-tournament press conference. The World No. 4  is coming off a run to the semi-finals in Madrid and a third round in Rome the past two weeks. He has a 9-6 record on the season and will begin his Lyon campaign against Briton Cameron Norrie on Thursday.

“Madrid and Rome were a good step in the right direction,” Thiem said. “Most of the time I liked how I played. There are still a couple of things to improve. I hope that I can take this positive direction to Lyon. I hopefully will get some matches here to get closer to 100 per cent at the start of Roland Garros.”

Thiem will arrive in Paris next Wednesday and considers Rafael Nadal as the main favourite for winning the French Open title. The 27-year-old Austrian finished runner-up to the Spaniard in 2018 as well as in 2019 but thinks that he has not reached his level of these years.

“In Madrid and Rome the first serve wasn’t doing enough damage. When I had an easy forehand, the placement was not good enough. I also didn’t like the transition from defense to offense. It’s crying at high level but if I want to go really deep in the tournaments, I need to improve these areas of the game. I hope that this tournament will help me to get back to the top of my game.”