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Preview: Tommy Paul vs. Lorenzo Musetti - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Queen's final between Tommy Paul and Lorenzo Musetti, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

Tommy Paul's impressive week at the Queen's Club Championships could end with a first grass-court title in Sunday's final against an equally in-form Lorenzo Musetti.

The 27-year-old has a whole lot riding on events at the Cinch Championships, as success over the fifth Italian to reach a tour-level final on grass will make the first-time finalist at the ATP 500 event America's No. 1 player, overtaking Taylor Fritz.

Match preview

Tommy Paul hits a shot at the Queen's Club Championships on June 22, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

While Paul was tipped to edge countryman Sebastian Korda in Saturday's semi-final at Queen's, a straight-sets win over his nemesis was unforeseen. Regardless the 27-year-old triumphed 6-4, 7-6 (2) over the man who held a 4-1 advantage in their head-to-head before the semis.

Having already suffered a disappointing defeat to the man four years his junior in the Netherlands last week, the world No. 13 needed to put that loss behind him as both players battled on centre court for a place in Sunday's decider.

Despite a mini-wobble in the first set and what could have been a costly one in the second — when he lost a 5-2 advantage — Paul avoided going the distance against the 23-year-old, who has now suffered semi-final losses in consecutive years at the Cinch Championships.

The upshot of Saturday's win means the 27-year-old will compete in his first final at Queen's for a maiden title on grass after previous successes in Stockholm (2021) and Dallas (2024) came on hard courts.

Winning will seal Paul's third Tour title and push him above world No. 12 Fritz to become America's top-ranked player.

Lorenzo Musetti reacts at the Queen's Club Championships on June 22, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

However, the current No. 13 is unlikely to have it all his way against the effervescent Musetti, whose battling qualities have been evident all week, culminating in being the fifth Italian to advance to a tour final on grass.

The world No. 30's hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 semi-final success over Australian Jordan Thompson took him into a first final in London and his maiden one on grass, with his 2022 titles in Naples and Hamburg coming on hard courts and clay, respectively.

Musetti has adapted to this year's crossover from clay commendably, having reached the semi-final in Stuttgart last week before losing to the eventual runner-up Matteo Berrettini and following that up with a decider in London.

Regardless, accumulated fatigue could be the 22-year-old's undoing on Sunday, as he has battled in almost every round en route to facing Paul, underlined by three sets in the first round against Alex de Minaur, the round of 16 against Brandon Nakashima and the recent triumph over Thompson.

This is in contrast to his American opponent, whose run to the final has seen him drop one set in his quarter-final triumph against Jack Draper, doubly stressing the mileage of the Italian player who also battled through in Stuttgart last week before falling to Berrettini.

Tournament so far

Tommy Paul:

First round: vs. Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4
Round of 16: vs. Alejandro Tabilo 6-3 6-4
Quarter-final: vs. Jack Draper 6-3 5-7 6-4
Semi-final: vs. Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-6 (2)

Lorenzo Musetti:

First round: vs. Alex de Minaur 1-6 6-4 6-2
Round of 16: vs. Brandon Nakashima 6-4 4-6 6-4
Quarter-final: vs. Billy Harris 6-3 7-5
Semi-final: vs. Jordan Thompson 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Head To Head

While Paul entered the previous two rounds with negative records against Draper and Korda, the fact that Sunday's final will be the first ATP Tour singles meeting on any surface between the American and Musetti adds to the intrigue.

Nevertheless, the American had a 69% success rate in 2024 before this week's tournament in London, a significantly higher win percentage over his opponent, whose 46% points to the former's consistency across multiple surfaces this year.

The Italian heads into Sunday's final with a 100% record in tour-level deciders, and he aims to make it three from three against Paul.

Musetti's perfect record in finals betters the American No. 2, who has triumphed in just two of his five finals — victorious in Stockholm and Dallas, while falling in Acapulco and Eastbourne last year and Delray Beach in 2024.

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We say: Paul to win in three sets

Even if it remains to be seen if Musetti plays at the level that saw him strike 14 winners and hit four unforced errors in the deciding set against Thompson, Sunday's final reaching a third set is anticipated given the Italian's involvement.

However, Paul, despite not having his opponent's polish, has displayed superior consistency on the surface this week and has played shorter matches, thus giving him the physical edge in an extended battle.

The encounter could go either way, but the world No. 13 should seal his third title win and a first on grass to make him America's highest-ranked player on the ATP Tour.

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