Fixture: Lorenzo Musetti vs Frances Tiafoe
Date: 17 March 2021
Tournament: Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Acapulco, Mexico
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,053,560
Match timing: 6 pm local time, 5.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Lorenzo Musetti vs Frances Tiafoe preview
Lorenzo Musetti burst on to the scene at the Rome Masters last year, where he defeated both Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori to reach the third round. The 19-year-old followed that up with a semifinal in Sardinia and a title at the Forli Challenger.
But the biggest result of Musetti's career came in Acapulco on Tuesday, as he beat third seed and World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman in the first round 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The Italian has now set up a second-round meeting against a familiar foe - Frances Tiafoe.
Tiafoe has established himself as a mainstay on the ATP tour already. And despite not having much to show for it, the American has had some solid results over the past 12 months.
After ending 2020 with a semifinal run in Nur Sultan, Tiafoe started his 2021 season at Delray Beach - where he reached the quarterfinals. The 23-year-old then bowed out in the second round of the Australian Open, but not before putting up a stern test against World No. 1 and eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Tiafoe had an underwhelming time on the clay events in South America, but has picked up a confidence-boosting win in the Acapulco first round over compatriot Brandon Nakashima. The American held his nerve in a thrilling battle against his compatriot, eventually triumphing in a third-set tiebreak.
Lorenzo Musetti vs Frances Tiafoe head-to-head
The second round encounter in Acapulco is the first professional meeting between Lorenzo Musetti and Frances Tiafoe on the ATP tour, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
The pair have, however, met twice on the Challenger tour - with both matches taking place last year on the clay courts of Italy. Taifoe prevailed in Parma and Musetti won in Forli, so their Challenger level head-to-head is 1-1.
Lorenzo Musetti vs Frances Tiafoe prediction
Lorenzo Musetti's skills were on full display in his statement win over Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday. The Italian was able to mix up his game effectively and use his power from the baseline when needed to take the match to his opponent.
Musetti did face a setback as he was not able to serve out the match at the first time of asking, but he held firm to pick up the victory on his sixth match point.
Frances Tiafoe, meanwhile, will attempt to use his big first serve and powerful groundstrokes from both flanks to take time away from Musetti. He will also look to outlast his younger opponent with his superior foot speed in the long exchanges.
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But while the American has more experience at the professional level, Musetti's form and momentum might be enough to carry him into the next round.
Prediction: Lorenzo Musetti to win in three sets.