Musetti makes it 3 Italians in last 8; Svitolina, Ostapenko win - GulfToday

Musetti makes it 3 Italians in last 8; Svitolina, Ostapenko win


Italy's Lorenzo Musetti returns the ball on the eighth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, on Monday. AFP

Lorenzo Musetti advanced to the first Grand Slam quarterfinals of his career on Monday at Wimbledon by beating Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Musetti joins No. 1 Jannik Sinner and women’s No. 7 Jasmine Paolini in collectively making Italian history: it’s the first time three Italians have reached the quarterfinals at the same Grand Slam.

The No. 25-seeded Musetti dropped to the grass when Mpetshi Perricard sent a forehand long to end a 30-stroke rally and the match. His back to the ground, the 22-year-old Italian’s chest heaved.

After an up-and-down season, Musetti is on quite a roll a the All England Club. He became a father in March.

“It’s been almost a year, really challenging with a lot of new experiences with the pregnancy of my girlfriend, and becoming a father. A lot of things happened and changed,” Musetti said in an on-court interview.

“I needed more time to find a balance on everything.”

He needed a set to find a balance on the hard-serving Mpetshi Perricard, who amassed 105 aces in three victories to reach the fourth round. Monday was his birthday.

Musetti converted five of 15 break point opportunities.

Musetti will next face either No. 4 Alexander Zverev or No. 13 Taylor Fritz. No. 9 Alex de Minaur reached his first Wimbledon quarterfinal by eliminating 20-year-old Arthur Fils of France 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The 25-year-old Australian will next face either seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic or No. 15 Holger Rune.

De Minaur was walking gingerly after closing out the match with a forehand volley winner. On the women’s side, No. 21 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine beat Wang Xinyu 6-2, 6-1 on a “ very difficult day ” for her home country. A major Russian missile attack across Ukraine killed dozens and injured more than 150 people, officials said.

Svitolina will play 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals. Svitolina wore a black ribbon and broke down in tears as she made the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday, hours after a Russian missile barrage killed 36 people and ripped open a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

The tennis star said she hoped her win would at least provide “a small light” in the aftermath of an attack described by the French foreign ministry as “barbaric”.

Svitolina’s sombre ribbon stood out dramatically on her white playing shirt as she completed a straight-sets win over Wang of China.

“It’s a very difficult day today for all Ukraine people,” said the 29-year-old Svitolina, who wept as she conducted a TV interview on court.

As she attempted to compose herself, she received a lengthy round of applause from spectators on Court Two.

“It was not easy to focus on the match. Since this morning it has been very difficult to read the news and go on court.

“So I was happy to play today and get the win. It was a good performance from my side. Thanks to everyone for their support.”

“I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions,” she said.

“You see the images and everything that happened. So many kids lost their lives.”

Svitolina said the attacks helped motivate her on Monday.

“I’m playing such an amazing event as Wimbledon. I have to think about how I can use that in a way for the Ukrainian people.

“I had to show up and do my best, my very best. Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, my way is tennis.”

Two-time semi-finalist Svitolina’s 6-2, 6-1 win took her into a quarter-final clash with Russian-born Elena Rybakina, the 2022 champion who represents Kazakhstan. Rybakina switched allegiance from Russia in 2018.

Rybakina, the No. 4 seed, advanced earlier Monday when Anna Kalinskaya retired in the second set because of an injury. Rybakina was leading 6-3, 3-0 when the 17th-seeded Kalinskaya stopped playing. Kalinskaya had taken a medical timeout in the first set, with attention paid to her neck and right forearm.

Rybakina has now won 18 of 20 matches in her career at the All England Club to join Ann Jones and Steffi Graf as the only players in the Open Era to have a 90% win rate in women’s singles at Wimbledon. The 25-year-old Rybakina is the highest-seeded woman remaining in the draw.

“My serve helps me a lot and especially when the roof is closed there is no wind, no conditions, so it’s perfect for my game,” she said after hitting seven aces. “I’m really happy the way I played my last two matches, so really enjoying my time here.”


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