While all three of the main contenders in the top half still remain in the tournament, Carlos Alcaraz is likely the most vulnerable to a surprise loss in the men’s draw. His matchup with Lorenzo Musetti looks like a tricky one on paper, especially with the Italian winning their only main tour match on the clay of Hamburg last year.
Still only 21, Musetti has established himself as a player comfortably inside the Top 30 this year and may well take substantial steps towards even the top 10 as the year goes on. He has shown he is more than capable of holding his own against the best players, including Novak Djokovic whom he beat in Monte Carlo this year. The Italian is one of a few players yet to drop a set this fortnight with his easy defeat of Cameron Norrie the best performance of the tournament for him to date.
Alcaraz moved to 33-3 on the year with his easy 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over Denis Shapovalov. Any danger of him getting dragged into a scrappy one quickly ended up being erased in the second set, which he won thanks to five straight games from 1-4 down. The Spaniard’s consistency and ability to switch things up is just proving too much for nearly all of the tour, especially in these conditions which he appears to enjoy more than any other so far.
This should be Alcaraz’s first difficult match, playing against an opponent that has very high tennis IQ. Musetti will definitely not fear the big occasion although the concern of a repeat from his Djokovic match in 2021 may be playing on his mind. Up two sets, he lost sixteen of the next seventeen games before retiring 4-0 down in the third. “I would say it’s going to be really good rallies, good shots between us, and of course it’s going to be a really fun match to watch, as well.” Alcaraz said.
Prediction – Carlos Alcaraz in four sets