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Teenager Musetti comes of age with win over Wawrinka in Rome

(Reuters) - Coming into just his second Tour level match Lorenzo Musetti did not expect to beat three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka at the Italian Open on Tuesday but the teenager says he fully deserved his stunning 6-0 7-6(2) victory.

FILE PHOTO: ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - September 14, 2020 Italy's Giulio Zeppieri reacts during his first round match against Italy's Lorenzo Musetti Pool via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani

A straight-sets loss to Andrey Rublev in Dubai in February was Musetti’s only Tour-level appearance before the claycourt matchup against Swiss Wawrinka, who counts the French Open among his three major titles.

“I think it’s a dream that came true. I’m still not believing what I did tonight,” Musetti said, adding that he used to visit the Foro Italico complex in Rome with his friends to watch the likes of Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Wawrinka play.

“I didn’t expect this win, but I think I deserved it. I played really good tennis.”

As a junior the Italian finished runner-up at the 2018 U.S. Open and won the Australian Open in 2019, the same year he turned professional.

The 18-year-old, ranked 249, needed a wildcard to play the qualifiers in the Masters 1000 tournament and was getting close to matching his career earnings of $70,000 from just one event.

“I don’t know how many points I got, how much money,” Musetti told reporters. “I just enjoyed the match and I had a lot of fun tonight.

“We worked a lot this month. I think I did one step of maturation of my game and my mentality.”

Musetti’s single-handed backhand was also a match for Wawrinka, who skipped the U.S. Open and the Western & Southern Open in New York and played challenger events on clay to prepare for this month’s French Open in Paris.

“Stan has an incredible backhand, incredible serve, a lot of power,” said Musetti. “I think I just managed my weapons the best tonight. At the end, it was incredible.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford

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