Wolf Knocks Out Musetti At Arizona Tennis Classic

JJ Wolf (photo: Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)


The Phoenix Country Club welcomes a star-studded line-up this week for the second edition of the Carvana Arizona Tennis Classic. All eight seeded players, led by World No. 52 Benoit Paire of France, are ranked inside the Top 75, but only one of this group has made it into the quarterfinals of the $159,360 ATP Challenger Tour hard-court event.

David Goffin booked his spot in the stage of the final eight with a hard-fought 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over US-American qualifier Alex Kovacevic on Wednesday. The No. 8 seed from Belgium, who is competing his his first event on the Challenger Circuit since the last tournament in Phoenix 2019, won one point less than his opponent but prevailed after one hour and 29 minutes. Former World No. 7 Goffin will next take on British alternate Liam Broady, who knocked off third favourite Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 16 minutes.

The top two seeds fell on Thursday, as Radu Albot battled past Paire 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. The 32-year-old from Moldova withstood 15 aces and broke the Frenchman’s serve five times to seal victory in almost two hours of play. Albot will next face Daniel Altmaier of Germany, who defeated No. 7 seed Emil Ruusuvuori from Finland 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 34 minutes.

Wolf upsets Musetti

In the bottom half of the draw, second-seeded Italian Lorenzo Musetti was eliminated by US-American wild card entry JJ Wolf. The World No. 209 from Cincinnati didn’t face a break point and capitalized on three of his own eight break-point chances to succeed 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and five minutes.

Wolf will play Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals. The 38-year-old Madrid native has arrived in Phoenix fresh from his title win at the Abierto GNP Segurosin Monterrey, Mexico. Verdasco continued his good run of form in the United States with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) second-round win over Kamil Majchrzak of Poland.


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The remaining quarterfinal match will be played between Richard Gasquet of France and home favourite Denis Kudla. Gasquet cruised past Facundo Bagnis from Argentina 6-2, 6-0 in only 48 minutes and Kudla edged out German lucky loser Mats Moraing 7-6(2), 7-6(5).

The encounter lasted one hour and 53 minutes.