Rising Italian star Lorenzo Musetti acknowledged it wasn’t easy at all playing fellow rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime in Lyon.
Musetti, ranked at No. 88 in the world, survived a tight meeting against Auger-Aliassime as he beat the Canadian 7-6 (3) 3-6 7-5 in the Lyon first round.
Musetti and Auger-Aliassime have now played twice this clay season as they also met at the Barcelona Open.
Back then. Auger-Aliassime recovered from a set down to beat Musetti.
This time, Auger-Aliassime failed to complete a comeback win against Musetti.
“We played a really intense match, a real fight,” said Musetti afterward, per the ATP website. “I learned from the loss to Felix in Barcelona. It’s a good start and I hope to continue like that.”
Musetti came up big in key moments
Auger-Aliassime failed to convert any of his two break points in the first game but also saved a break point in the following game.
Musetti claimed the first break of the match in the fourth game but Auger-Aliassime broke back in the seventh game.
As no more breaks were seen — the set went into a tie-break — in which the two players were all tied at three points apiece before Musetti won four points in a row to win the opener.
Auger-Aliassime blew an early second set break but he broke Musetti again in the sixth game and then held on to his serve the rest of the set to force a decider.
Musetti failed to serve out for the match in the ninth game of the third set but he broke Auger-Aliassime in the 12th game to seal the win.
Musetti plays next against Sebastian Korda, who beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his Lyon opener.
“It’s going to be really tough [against Korda] and he’s one of the best #NextGenATP right now,” said Musetti. “I know him so well from juniors. We never played against each other. He is a fighter, so I will try and do my best to get into the quarter-finals.”