Musetti and Fognini, stellar comebacks: two more successes in the fifth set

Musetti and Fognini, stellar comebacks: two more successes in the fifth set

Lorenzo under 2-5 in the fifth set overcomes Goffin at the tie-break. Fabio behind 1-6 1-4 gets up and beats Karatsev after 3 hours and 34 minutes

After Jannik Sinner, two other interminable five-set marathons promote both Lorenzo Musetti and Fabio Fognini to the second round of the United States Open. Musetti needs 4 hours and 36 minutes to get the better of David Goffin, beaten for 3-6 7-5 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9), Fognini instead of 3 hours and 34 minutes to fold the Russian Aslan Karatsev, lost 1-6 5-7 6-3 6-1 6-4.

Musetti goes

Lorenzo Musetti brings home a victory that enters the chapter of epic challenges, a shoulder to shoulder fight for almost five hours in which he manages to win at the final long tie-break, won by 11 points to 9 after his opponent was arrived three times to serve for the match and in which the poor Goffin scored even 14 points more than the blue (187 to 173). The first skirmishes seem to favor the more experienced player who, under 2-3, cancels two break points and places the winning paw by inserting 4 consecutive games to win the first fraction for 6-3. The breaks, seasoned with many free mistakes and few winners (in the end the balance will be largely negative for both, 40 winners and 61 free for the blue, 59 winners and 81 free for the Belgian), affect much of the second set. Twice Musetti goes on a break, but is systematically resumed, before the draw makes him smell the ball of 4-1. Goffin, however, plays his best tennis, recovers the almost double break and remains alive until the eleventh game, when however the new Musetti break is confirmed by a round of bat without worries: 7-5 for the blue who equalizes the score of sets. The first delicate moment of the match arrives in the fourth game of the third set when Musetti saves two break points, puts a very long game in his pocket and then places the only break of the set that decides a set that changes the inertia of the match. But Goffin doesn’t want to give up like that and in the fourth set he immediately stretches for 3-0, then in the seventh game he cancels three chances of the counter break to hoist himself on 5-2, reached with a longed-for ace. Wasted the opportunity to return, Musetti is forced to bow his head and prepare for a challenging fifth set. At the beginning of the fifth set the player from Carrara wobbles, accuses of fatigue, he lets himself be overwhelmed by Goffin who, on the other hand, is physically fine. The Belgian moves very well, he has the necessary strength to operate at zero an initial break that he easily keeps almost below the finish line. Goffin goes up, with the service available, until 5-2, 30-15. Here Musetti invents a short ball that destabilizes Goffin. The Belgian then commits a double foul and a free one, returning the first break. At 5-4 Goffin serves again to close and Musetti still finds a miraculous break. The Belgian is not there and on the even 5 he works a new break that sends him for the third time to serve for the match, but this time too he is unable to keep the bar. At the long tie-break it is still Goffin who dominates: he rises 4-1 and then 7-4, but the three points advantage are immediately absorbed by Musetti who always plays the points behind with great clarity. So with yet another short ball he recovers on 7 all. At 9-8 the blue reaches the match point but Goffin cancels it with a forehand. With a backhand long line Musetti gets another one and this time he scores by winning a deserved victory. For Musetti now there is a second round more than affordable with Gijs Brouwer who has swept away the expert left-handed Adrian Mannarino in three sets.

Fabio, who comes back

Not less is Fabio Fognini who recovers two sets of disadvantage against the mighty Karatsev giving himself a fabulous second round against Rafael Nadal. The Ligurian starts off on the wrong foot, is listless and does nothing to try to remedy a game in free fall. The Russian flies ahead 6-1 4-1 with two chances for 5-1. At this point Fognini starts playing and the game changes. Despite four double fouls, he keeps the game for 2-4, returns to the surface, wins three games in a row for 5 all, then at 5-6 he goes down again 15-40 without being able to recover again. But the turning point, in the Ligurian’s head, took place and at the beginning of the third set the challenge took on completely different connotations. Fognini moves forward for the first time in the match at 4-2 in the third set, at 5-4 he serves for the set, missing six set points, cancels a break point and at the seventh chance halves the set disadvantage. In the fourth he dominates 5-0 and closes 6-1. In the fifth Karatsev, now exhausted, holds up to 4-5. Then, forced to serve to stay in the match, he collapses: Fognini misses the first two match points, but closes on the third occasion thanks to Karatsev’s double fault. For Fognini, who now finds Rafael Nadal, it is the ninth career victory recovering from two sets below. In the past it had happened against Monfils and Russell in 2010, against Roger-Vasselin in 2012, against Kuznetsov in 2014, against Nadal here in 2015, against Gabashvili in 2016, against Pella in the Davis Cup in 2017 and against Opelka at the Australian Open 2020.

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