Outsider Lorenzo Musetti thwarted young star Carlos Alcaraz and surprisingly won the tennis tournament at Hamburg’s Rothenbaum.

When his premiere victory on the ATP Tour was decided after a thrilling three hours, Lorenzo Musetti lay backwards on the clay and grabbed his head. The 20-year-old outsider from Italy could not believe that he had beaten the top favourite from Spain, Carlos Alcaraz, 6:4, 6:7 (6:8), 6:4, after a hard fight in the final of the European Open. Musetti dedicated the victory in his first tennis appearance at the Rothenbaum in Hamburg to his grandmother.

Alcaraz, ranked sixth in the world and also making his first appearance in the Hanseatic city, missed out on his sixth ATP Tour victory in front of 7,500 fans in temperatures of around 30 degrees. The 19-year-old top favourite was initially far from his form of the previous days. In the first set, he gave up his serve twice to Musetti, who made fewer errors himself and took advantage of almost every chance.

Alcaraz was also quickly 0:2 down in the second set, but kept cheering himself on and was suddenly back to his old self in the greatest of adversity. He fended off two match points and saved himself for the tiebreak, in which Musetti could not use three more match points. In the deciding set, a break was enough for the Italian because he converted his sixth match point after 2:46 hours. “This is a great moment for me,” said the world No. 62 proudly.

The day before, outsider Bernarda Pera from the USA had continued her winning streak at the Rothenbaum. In the final, the 27-year-old did not give tournament favourite Anett Kontaveit from Estonia a chance at 6:2, 6:4 and won her second tournament in a week after Budapest. “That was one of the most impressive performances I have ever seen,” praised tournament ambassador Andrea Petkovic. The 34-year-old from Darmstadt was the only one of eleven German men’s and women’s singles participants to make it past round one before failing to beat Kontaveit in the quarter-finals. “The German record is mixed,” Petkovic said, “but there were many more top stars than in 2021.”

Tournament director Reichel draws positive conclusion

Even before the conclusion of the first Rothenbaum doubles event in 44 years, tournament director Sandra Reichel drew a positive conclusion. “It was the right thing to do here with women and men competing in one tournament in one week. We experienced a mini Grand Slam feeling.” She praised the top level of the assembled world’s best, economically she was satisfied with 55 000 spectators in nine days. “It comes down to a black zero, but we didn’t really earn that much,” admitted the Austrian. She believes that a combined tournament will also be played in the Hanseatic city in 2023. “I think the signs are good.” What comes after that, however, is open.