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Tata Open: Seeds tumble as Majchrzak stuns Musetti

Source: PTI
February 04, 2022 23:43 IST
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Poland's Kamil Majchrzak plays a return during his victory over second seed Lorenzo Musetti in the quarter-final of the Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Friday

IMAGE: Poland's Kamil Majchrzak plays a return during his victory over second seed Lorenzo Musetti in the quarter-final of the Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Friday. Photograph: PTI

It turned out to be a day of upsets at the Tata Open Maharashtra as Kamil Majchrzak knocked out second seed Lorenzo Musetti while defending champion Jiri Vesely also exited along with two more seeded players in Pune on Friday.

 

Returning extremely well and using the drop shots effectively, the 95th ranked Polish Majchrzak recorded a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over the World No 66 Musetti in a two-hours and 13 minute battle to advance to the semi-finals.

The top seed and World No 15 Aslan Karatsev has already exited the event after a loss in the second round at the hands of qualifier Elias Ymer.

Majchrzak will now clash with Finland's 22-year-old Emil Ruusuvuori, who shocked the title holder from Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 in their quarter-final.

While the Finnish served and returned with authority, Vesely struggled for accuracy. It was Ruusuvuori's second win over the Czech having beaten him in Antalya, Turkey in 2021.

Qualifier Ymer continued his giant-killing spree with an impressive 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over eighth seed Stefano Travaglia and set up the semi-final with Joao Sousa, who sent back fifth seed Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 6-3.

"When I serve well, I am tough to beat. There are not much tactics, but I always have a plan to follow," said Ymer after his match.

Ruusuvuori is now the only seeded player left in the fray.

From India's perspective, the home challenge shrunk further with the semi-final defeat of N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan in the men's doubles event. They lost 2-6, 4-6 to top seeded Australian pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith.

Rohan Bopanna and Rankumar Ramanathan will play their semi-final on Saturday.

After his match, Majchrzak revealed that he developed the habit of playing drop shots in his early tennis days.

"I like to play drop shots since childhood. I used to play to finish points but on the Tour I can't do it, I need a follow-up shot for winner," said the 26-year-old Majchrzak, who is coached by Sweden's Joakim Nystrom, a 13-time winner on the Tour.

Meanwhile, Musetti rued the missed chances against Majchrzak.

"He was serving really good. I am very upset. It was close, I won a very great second set and was leading the third. I could win, I have that feeling. I am sad. I will try to be better next week," a dejected Musetti said.

"He started to play very aggressive. In final game he was 15-40 but served very well. I could do nothing. I had chances but that is tennis. I learnt a lot from this match."

Talking about the conditions, the 19-year-old Italian said it did not suit his game.

"Not the best surface, I like more slow balls. The ball was coming really fast, it was flying a little bit. Physically I was good but his serving was really good," he said.

Musetti faced a breakpoint in the sixth game after going up 40-15 and dropped serve when his cross court forehand went wide. It was the Polish player's returns, along with excellent court coverage, that opened up the opportunity.

Majchrzak came out serving next game at love to lead 5-2.

Serving to stay in the set, the young Italian began with a forehand error and ended with a backhand error.

The unforced errors continued to flow from Musetti's racquet as he was trying too hard but he managed to hold his serve in the beginning of the second set, coming out with two big serves at 30-all.

Majchrzak, though, was not only returning well as he also came out serving extremely well to keep the match under his control.

Serving at 2-3 and up 40-30, Musetti served a double fault but returned well to win the deuce point but again unforced error made it back to deuce.

Musetti got his first break opportunity in the next game when he found a passing single backhand winner at 30-all but netted the forehand on next point to let go of the advantage.

In the absence of a break, the second set went into a tie-breaker, in which Musetti led 4-2. Soon he had three set points. He wasted the first two but Mazchrzak double faulted on the third to make it one-set all.

The Italian teenager managed to contain his unforced errors and also served well in the decider. Serving first, he stayed ahead, holding his serves comfortably.

Majchrzak also kept it simple and apart from his huge serves, his use of drop shots to cut short points and intermittent charge at the net was pretty impressive.

In the ninth game, at 30-30, Musetti hit a backhand long to face the first break chance of the third set but used his backhand slices well to stave off the danger.

Majchrzak returned a backhand on far right of Musetti to earn another break chance, which was converted when the Italian made a return error.

Serving for the match, the Polish player saved two break chances with serve and volley before closing the match with a back hand volley winner on his third match point.

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