Preview: Dan Evans  v Lorenzo Musetti | H2H: First meeting
Dan Evans goes into his first clay court event of the season as the top seed, as he looks to get a first main draw win on the surface in four years. The 30-year-old has won a dismal 23.5% of matches on the dirt throughout his career and will be desperate to change his fortunes in 2021.
The Brit has lost his last nine battles on clay, making it by far the most tricky surface for him to master. An early defeat at the Miami Open may prove to be a blessing in disguise as it would have allowed Evans to get extra practice on the clay.
Evans’ opponent will be Italian teenager, Lorenzo Musetti. The 19-year-old is currently sat at a career-high ranking of 90 and has won nine of last eleven matches on the ATP Tour. Musetti secured his first ever top ten victory earlier this year, upsetting the then World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman in Acapulco.
The Italian plays an aesthetically pleasing brand of tennis, greatly helped by his vast repertoire of shots. Musetti is a very creative player and is often one or two shots ahead of his opponent – which is highly effective on the slower pace of clay courts. The World No. 90 doesn’t struggle to generate pace and can rip winners from both wings rather effortlessly.
Musetti deploys a one-handed backhand which doesn’t seem to hinder his ability to deal with shots above the shoulder. The Italian definitely won’t be short of confidence as he bulldozed his way into the second round for the loss of a solitary game.
Evans will need to keep the points on his terms and not be afraid to attack the net if the opportunity presents itself. If the pair are left in baseline rallies deep in the court, Musetti will have full control of the outcome so the Brit will have to give the teenager a different look.
The odds are certainly stacked against the top seed. Since winning his maiden tour title at the Murray River Open, Evans has won just one of his next five matches. His drop in form has come at the worst time as he begins a lengthy few months on his worst surface. The Italian has impressed everyone who has seen him go about his business and he should wrap this one up relatively easily.
Liam Broady suffered a straight sets defeat to the hands of Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round. The Brit was no match for the fifth seed, who will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarterfinals.
Nevertheless it has been a positive week for the World No. 152. Broady navigated his way through the qualifying draw, defeating a higher ranked opponent along the way. The Brit then secured his first ever main draw clay court victory on the ATP Tour, defeating Marc Andrea Huesler in the opening round.
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