Generations Collide – Rafael Nadal vs Jannik Sinner & Novak Djokovic vs Lorenzo Musetti

Italian men’s tennis has a lot to shout about at the moment, a new era of tennis led by Matteo Berrettini and with two impressive teenagers continuing to make noise on the tour.

19 year old Jannik Sinner who has won two titles, runner-up in Miami, quarter finalist here in 2020 and has recently broken into the top 20 in the world will be up against the favourite and 13 time champion Rafael Nadal.

Another 19 year old, Lorenzo Musetti is making his Grand Slam debut. When the French Open took place 9 months ago the Italian wasn’t even ranked high enough for qualifying and didn’t get a look in at any wildcard despite recording wins over Nishikori and Wawrinka at home in Rome. Lorenzo’s opponents is the world number one Novak Djokovic who is itching for a 19th major to take to Wimbledon in a few weeks’ time.

Sinner vs Nadal

A third meeting between the two, the first was here back in October in the final eight with Nadal winning 7-6 6-4 6-1, the second was just a few weeks ago in Rome in a wonderful battle won by Nadal 7-5 6-4.

We know everything we need to know about Nadal, how do you stop him? Only two people have in Paris and the last was Novak Djokovic in what will be on Monday 2197 days ago.

So not too long ago…

Going back to their meeting in Rome I loved the confidence of sinner, he put top spin on his forehand if needed, flattened it out and also tried to keep the backhand low and flat driving through the court. The teenager created some phenomenal angles but it was a case of ‘any angle you create, I can go one better’ from Nadal.

He has to keep the ball low, the power the Italian can hit with is frightening, I think in a couple of years time he will be up there with the movement of Djokovic. Sinner is a former ski champion and you see the confidence in his movement on clay or hard courts.

My only worry is if Sinner starts getting pulled into the net rather than making that move himself. Nadal will want some quicker rallies but if Sinner is going to cause a monumental upset it has to be on his own terms.

Musetti vs Djokovic

Not a bad Grand Slam debut for the recently turned 19 year old.

d. Goffin – 6-0 7-5 7-6
d. Nishioka – 7-5 6-3 6-2
d. Cecchinato 3-6 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3

Tricky players, tricky game styles but one theme, Musetti won!

It is a free hit for Musetti, I don’t think he will come out and be wild but the pressure is off. He would love to win, he has won big in his career already against Schwartzman, Dimitrov, Goffin, Nishikori and Wawrinka so it’s not a straight forward conclusion on paper.

He has recently come into the top 100 at 76 in the world and has only played 32 singles matches, Djokovic on the other hand has played just the 1152 singles matches…

What will Lorenzo bring to the court? He will bring flair to the court and can upset the rhythm of the rallies. I fully expect to see him bring in top-spin off his one-handed backhand to change the pace because we know Djokovic loves rhythm.

We know he can bring the tricks…

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