Laslo Djere advanced to his second ATP Tour championship match on Saturday at the Forte Village Sardegna Open.
The 25-year-old was leading Lorenzo Musetti 2-6, 6-2, 4-1 when the #NextGenATP Italian was forced to retire with a right elbow injury. Last year’s Rio Open presented by Claro champion will meet Marco Cecchinato or countryman Danilo Petrovic in the final on Sunday.
Musetti made a fast start to his first ATP Tour semi-final, ripping a cross-court forehand return winner to break serve in the opening game. The Italian showed great court coverage throughout the first set, forcing Djere to increase his aggression, which extracted multiple errors.
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Djere responded well in the second set, racing out to a 4-0 lead. The Serbian dropped just two points behind his first serve in the second set (11/13) and dictated baseline play with powerful groundstrokes to force a decider.
Serving at 1-2 in the third set, Musetti pulled out of his service motion as he began to feel pain in his right elbow. Djere rushed Musetti into errors to break and held serve for a 4-1 lead, before the Italian took a medical timeout. After dropping the opening point of his service game upon the resumption of play, Musetti walked to the net to touch racquets with Djere.
Musetti was attempting to become the youngest Italian in the Open Era to reach an ATP Tour final. The 18-year-old entered last month’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia with no Top 100 wins at No. 249 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Musetti now owns seven Top 100 victories, an ATP Challenger Tour trophy (Forli) and rose to a career-high No. 138 on 28 September.