Young Italian Men are Taking Over the French Open. They Have No Idea Why.

Young Italian Men are Taking Over the French Open. They Have No Idea Why.

Young Italian Men are Taking Over the French Open. They Have No Idea Why.

Young Italian Men are Taking Over the French Open. They Have No Idea Why.

They do not play much like Fognini either. Fognini is a classic counterpuncher. He saunters around the court, taking his time before serving, or returning. He will slice, bash and flick his forehand all during the same point, wait for the slightest opening and then pounce.

On Thursday, Sinner played as he always does. All afternoon he attacked another Italian, the 87th-ranked Gianluca Mager, from the back half of the court with darts to the sidelines.

Berrettini, who is 6-foot-5, leads with his booming serve, which has been clocked at 146 miles per hour. He powers his way into the court and finishes plenty of points at the net. He also has a highly effective backhand drop shot.

Musetti is strong nearly everywhere on the court, with a museum quality one-hand backhand, a beautiful, low-to-high stroke that sends the ball flying off his racket. Opponents have seemingly won a point after pinning him deep on his backhand side, then end up watching a laser dive into the corner.

“He’s got a lot of shots,” Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, the world’s fifth-ranked player, said of Musetti after beating him in Mexico in March. “He just has to work a bit on his serve.”

Musetti said he spent much of the spring doing that, trying to make it less predictable.

The work appears to be paying off. Musetti has yet to lose a set here. By the third set Thursday, his opponent, Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, older by six years, was kicking his racket across the clay and tossing his cap.

“I’m not trying to explain this,” Musetti said after the win. He faces, who else, another Italian, the 83rd-ranked Marco Cecchinato, in the third round.


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