Musetti holds off Fritz in 5, sets Djokovic SF clash at Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jul 10, 2024

The Italian title charge is alive and kicking at Wimbledon.

Lorenzo Musetti delivered arguably the Grand Slam performance of his career so far on Wednesday to outlast Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 3-6. 6-1 at the grass-court major. In doing so, the 22-year-old became just the fourth Italian men’s singles semi-finalist in event history.

Even after World No. 1 Jannik Sinner fell to Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday, Musetti gave an immediate reminder of the strength-in-depth of Italian tennis with a classy and composed display in his maiden major quarter-final. The 25th seed deployed his slice backhand to great effect to outfox an elite grass-court opponent and set a last-four meeting with Novak Djokovic.

“I don’t think I’ve realised yet what I have done,” Musetti said in his on-court interview. “I was talking with my team about how to play on the big stage… It was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to walk out on this amazing stadium and it’s been an honour for me.

“At the start of the match Taylor was really leading the game, especially with his serve and I couldn’t return well. In the second set I had a big reaction after breaking at the start and that changed my mind, my attitude. That probably made the difference and hopefully on Friday I will have the same one.”

The two-time ATP Tour titlist Musetti composed himself superbly in the deciding set after Fritz had snatched the fourth via a break in the eighth game. The Italian raced to a double-break lead with some of his best tennis of the match before sealing a three-hour, 27-minute quarter-final triumph.

The foundation to Musetti’s triumph in his debut appearance on the All England Club’s No. 1 Court was his serve. The No. 25 in the PIF ATP Rankings won 76 per cent (63/83) of points behind his first delivery, and that stability allowed him to express himself freely in return games. Musetti converted six of 13 break points he earned against one of the biggest servers on the ATP Tour.

The penultimate point of the match was a good example of the way Musetti found his magic touch in the final set. He produced a well-disguised drop shot which Fritz chased courageously. The American caught his leg in the court as he tried to slide and the crowd held its breath, but fortunately he was soon up to face match point.

There was nothing the three-time Eastbourne champion Fritz could do to rescue the match situation, however. Musetti served out for a famous victory to join his countrymen Nicola Pietrangeli (1960), Matteo Berrettini (2021) and Sinner (2023) as a Wimbledon semi-finalist.


With Jasmine Paolini into the semi-finals of the ladies’ singles, it marks just the second time in history that an Italian man and woman have reached the last four at the same Grand Slam event. The first occasion was just five weeks ago at Roland Garros, when Sinner and Paolini reached the semi-finals on the Paris clay.

The seven-time champion Djokovic earlier advanced to the last four after Alex de Minaur withdrew prior to the pair’s quarter-final clash due to a hip injury. Two of Musetti and Djokovic’s previous Lexus ATP Head2Head clashes have come on the Grand Slam stage, and both went to five sets, with Djokovic prevailing at Roland Garros in 2021 and 2024.

Looking ahead to another Grand Slam clash with Djokovic, Musetti said, “He’s a legend everywhere, but especially here at Wimbledon. I expect a big fight. It’s one of the toughest challenges. But I’m an ambitious guy and I like to be challenged.”


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