Milan favourite Lorenzo Musetti starts Next Gen Finals with a quick win

Lorenzo Musetti celebrates Credit: Alamy
Lorenzo Musetti celebrates Credit: Alamy

Lorenzo Musetti raced to an opening victory at the Next Gen ATP Finals on Tuesday flying past Chun-Hsin Tseng 4-2, 4-2, 4-2 to move to 1-0 in Red Group.

The 20-year-old thrilled the Milanese crowd throughout the 70-minute clash with his stunning shotmaking.

Musetti belted a string of incredible passing shots from both wings and showed phenomenal touch around the net to ensure he made the perfect start at the 21-and-under event.

“It was really nice,” Musetti said.

“I remember playing here from last year.

“The crowd here is really amazing.

“They gave me extra energy.

“I am pretty confident and happy with the win.

“The shorter times [between points] means you can be in a rush, so you need to be patient and look at the times and not rush.”

Musetti was allowed to be in constant dialogue with his coach Simone Tartarin during the clash.

Tartarin was provided with data and analytics during the match, helping him negotiate a tactical plan with Musetti from courtside.

The World No. 23 hit 17 winners and broke serve four times on his way to victory.

He captured his maiden tour-level title in Hamburg in July before he tasted success on home soil in Naples last month.

Tseng, currently No 90 in the ATP Rankings, is the second Asian player to compete at the 21-and-under event after 2017 champion Hyeon Chung.

The 21-year-old, would demonstrate good touch at the net against Musetti despite his defeat.

Second seed Musetti will also play British hope Jack Draper and Swiss Dominic Stricker during the round-robin stage in Milan.

Earlier, Jiri Lehecka celebrated his 21st birthday in style when he cruised past Francesco Passaro 4-1, 4-3(7), 4-1 to move to 1-0 in Green Group.

The Czech makes his debut in Milan and issued a strong opening statement, quickly adapting to the first-to-four, best-of five set format to triumph after 67 minutes.

“I have never played a match in this format before,” Lehecka said. “In the beginning I was getting used to it a little bit. I think I adapted well. We have used this format in practise and I got used to it pretty fast and it was fun.”

Lehecka was allowed to pull Passaro from pillar to post with his metronomic groundstrokes.

The birthday boy fired 18 winners and broke serve three times. With just 15 seconds between points following aces or missed returns, he also raced through his service games en route to victory.

The World No 74 has enjoyed an impressive if inconsistent season.

He reached the semi-finals as a qualifier in Rotterdam in February and clinched an ATP Challenger Tour crown in August.

Lehecka will also play American Brandon Nakashima and Matteo Arnaldi during the round-robin stage in Milan.

Passaro held a 29-15 record on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2022, lifting a trophy in Trieste.

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