Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal e Roger Federer. They will be the three sacred monsters of the tennis world opponents, respectively, of Lorenzo Musetti, Jannik Sinner e Matteo Berrettini in the round of 16 of Roland Garros on Monday 7 June. A one-day child program, that of Saturday, historical for Italian tennis. For the first time in the Open era there are three Italians in the round of 16 of one Slam. A result that embellishes even more a 2021 so far played at very high levels by the Azzurri tennis players. Three titles (Sinner in Melbourne, Sonego in Cagliari and Berrettini in Belgrade) and a path as protagonists in the Masters 1000 circuit, with two endings (Sinner in Miami and Berrettini in Madrid), a semifinal (Sonego in Rome) and a quarter-final (Fognini in Montecarlo). The only regret up to this moment of the Parisian adventure was the elimination of Lorenzo Sonego in the first round and the bad defeat of Fabio Fognini against Delbonis in the third round (in a part of the board that could be very interesting).
The prediction for the round of 16 (on paper) is unfavorable to all three but the space to witness interesting crossings and spectacular there is. Especially as regards the match that sees Berrettini and Federer as protagonists. The 39 year old Swiss is still not in top form after the streak injuries of 2020. The three and a half hours against Koepfer they could be felt. Furthermore, during the press conference following the third round match, the Basel player even put forward the hypothesis of do not take the field against the Italian. On the other hand, the Roman has shown in the last month that he has found the brilliance of the best days.
To get to this point Musetti, Sinner and Berrettini have passed by convincing wins and significant. In between there was also the elimination of Marco Cecchinato (an excellent tournament for the 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist) in the derby against Musetti.
The Roman against the South Korean was more difficult than expected Kwon, beaten for 7-6 6-3 6-4. Berrettini had to sweat to win the next round, especially in the first set, which ended after a tie-break pulled and finished 8 points to 6. Less struggled the other two partial, with Berrettini good at containing the resourcefulness of the young South Korean. The Italian number 1 thus confirms the excellent impressions transmitted after the victories against the Japanese Daniel (6-0 6-4 4-6 6-4) and the Argentine Coria (6-3 6-3 6-2).
Along with the success against Kwon, Berrettini also takes another small piece of history of Italian tennis. With his first round of 16 in Paris, he becomes the first Italian to reach this point in all i tornei of the Grand Slam.
Now the challenge against a Federer at half service and fresh from the battle won against the German Koepfer for 7-6 6-7 7-6 7-5. A challenge that the Swiss made his despite the many mistakes and thanks only to his experience. In short, a whole different scenario compared to the previous one of 2019 at Wimbledon, when the 20-time Grand Slam champion inflicted one severe lesson to blue. The only Italian to beat Federer in the majors was Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open in 2015.
Continue to amaze Lorenzo Musetti. At his first career Grand Slam – after he was ousted David Goffin (6-0 7-5 7-6) e Nishioka (7-5 6-3 6-2) – the 19-year-old from Carrara wins the round of 16 of Roland Garros, at the end of a derby exciting with Marco Cecchinato. A 3-6 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3 of battle and big shots. Like the one Musetti gave to the public in the fourth game of the third set on the break ball: one volley behind the back winning that for many is already the hit of the entire tournament.
In short, class, but also a lot of character. Musetti first reassembled his compatriot, then got himself reassembled and, in the end, managed to manage the voltage when he reached the fifth set (his first in his career), where experience often pays off. Ahead of two breaks, Musetti first trembled and then it closed at the fourth match point. One hundred and eighty points which represent three things for the young blue: the number 19 in the Race, the position 61 in the ranking and the chance to face the number one in the world Novak Djokovic. The Serbian had no problems against the Lithuanian Berankis, beaten 6-1 6-4 6-1.
Three sets to zero to the Swedish Mikael Ymer and yet another challenge against the 13-time winner of Paris Rafael Nadal. In the round of 16 the South Tyrolean will have the opportunity to test himself again against strongest in the world on clay, after the last two matches played in Rome and last year again at Roland Garros (that time, however, it was the quarter-finals). Two occasions in which Sinner convinced without taking home not even a set.
The 6-1 7-5 6-3 with which the blue ruled Ymer in this third round is the result of a race never really in question, with Sinner too much harder and far more ready mentally than the young Swede. An optimal management of the forces and the match that represent a signal important after the first two rounds not too convincing against Herbert (6-1 4-6 6-7 7-5 6-4) e Thin (6-1 7-5 3-6 6-3). This result allows the 20-year-old Italian to recover ninth position in the Race.