10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s preview and pick for the NextGen ATP Finals match between Musetti and Draper

It will be a virtual quarterfinal at the NextGen ATP Finals when Lorenzo Musetti and Jack Draper collide in the last Red Group round-robin match on Thursday night.

Both players are 1-1 through two matches, while Dominic Stricker has clinched the top spot in the Red Group with a 2-0 record and Chun-Hsin Tseng (0-2) has been mathematically eliminated from semifinal contention. Stricker remained undefeated by outlasting Musetti 4-3(5), 4-3(6), 3-4(7), 3-4(6), 4-3(3) after two hours and 26 minutes on Wednesday. Draper bounced back from an opening loss to Stricker (in three tiebreakers) with a 1-4, 4-2, 4-3(3), 4-2 victory over Tseng.

This will mark the first-ever meeting at the pro level for Musetti and Draper. They faced each other once in juniors, with Draper prevailing in a three-setter in the 2018 Wimbledon quarterfinals.

It is Musetti who has home-court advantage this time around and the 23rd-ranked Italian generally does his best work in front of his own fans. In fact, in 2022 alone he has a Challenger title in a Forli, a semifinal showing in Florence, and an ATP title in Naples. The loss to Stricker was a tough one, but Musetti was more competitive than Draper was against the Swiss and he also beat Tseng more convincingly (4-2, 4-2, 4-2 in his Turin opener).

“It was really nice,” Musetti said after beating Tseng. “I remember playing here from last year. The crowd here is really amazing; they gave me extra energy. I am pretty confident. The shorter times (between points) means you can [get rushed], so you need to be patient and look at the times and not rush.”

This is Draper’s debut appearance at the NextGen ATP Finals, so Musetti also has the experience in addition to the home-court edge. Count an extremely entertaining encounter–especially with a do-or-die scenario–that Musetti pulls out in the end over the left-handed Brit.

Pick: Musetti in 4

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.