Shropshire Star

Novak Djokovic meets Lorenzo Musetti again as he eyes another Wimbledon final

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic battled the young Italian into the early hours of the morning at the French Open.


The last time Novak Djokovic faced Lorenzo Musetti it took the 24-time grand slam champion until after 3am to get rid of him.

On Thursday Djokovic renews his battle with the Italian who went toe-to-toe with him at the French Open last month, with their five-set marathon providing the latest finish in Roland Garros history.

Wimbledon’s 11pm curfew means Djokovic, who suffered a torn meniscus in his following match in Paris which left his participation here hanging by a thread, will at least be spared another graveyard shift.

The seven-time champion received a bye into the last four after Alex De Minaur had to withdraw from their quarter-final through injury.

That gave Djokovic three free days to prepare for his record-equalling 13th Wimbledon semi-final, and also delayed another date with the Centre Court crowd he accused of disrespecting him by using fourth-round opponent Holger Rune’s surname as an “excuse to boo”.

But Djokovic could be in for another tough afternoon if the spectators decide yelling ‘Moooo-setti’ can wind the Serbian up as much as ‘Roooon’ did on Monday night.

Musetti, 22, who beat Taylor Fritz in five sets to reach his first grand slam semi-final, certainly has the sort of inventive game that will charm the Centre Court patrons.

The 25th seed has beaten Djokovic once, on the clay of Monte Carlo last year, but lost their other five meetings.

“I played him many times in different stages, even big ones like of course two times in French Open,” said Musetti. “I beat him one time, then lost all the others.

“I have to say, with Nole, after the match I always finished with a lesson. Of course, the last match was really an intense match from both players and really stressful match.

“So what I have to say, against him you are probably more stressed because he’s probably the best player ever or one of the best players ever.

Lorenzo Musetti holds his arms out wide in celebration
Lorenzo Musetti is through to his first grand slam semi-final (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“You walk on court with a different mentality. But, I think if I play in a certain way, I could have my shot in the next round.”

The other semi-final was the one supposed to feature an Italian, but world number one Jannik Sinner was beaten by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who will instead take on defending champion Carlos Alcaraz.

It is a rematch of last year’s semi, which the Spaniard breezed through in straight sets, so what does Medvedev need to do differently this time around?

Carlos Alcaraz consoles Daniil Medvedev at the net
Carlos Alcaraz beat Daniil Medvedev in last year’s semi-final (Victoria Jones/PA)

“Just play better,” he smiled. “It’s always a question, did I serve not well enough or was Carlos amazing on the return, because he won?

“I have to serve better. That’s still the most important thing on grass. You serve aces, you serve on the line, you’re less in trouble, and you feel better. That’s where you can put pressure on his serve.

“Yeah, then he’s a tough player. He can hit strong. He can slice. He can drop-shot. He can volley. He knows how to play tennis. I just need to be at my best and try to win.”

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