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'Magic day' as Musetti sets up Djokovic semi-final

Italian Lorenzo Musetti called it a "magic day" as he defeated American Taylor Fritz in five sets to secure a Wimbledon semi-final with seven-time champion Novak Djokovic.

Musetti, 22, fought back from a set and a break of serve down to win his quarter-final 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 3-6 6-1.

"I'm really happy to be in my first semi-final here," said Musetti, who described Djokovic as a "legend, especially here at Wimbledon".

"I'm expecting a big, big fight and it's one of the toughest challenges on tour but I'm an ambitious guy and I like to be challenged. I will put 100% effort in and we will see what happens."

Asked what this victory meant to him, Musetti added: "After the birth of my son, I will put this in the second position for my career. Of course, for my career it is the best day of my life."

Djokovic, 37, had earlier moved into the final four without having to play his quarter-final after scheduled opponent Alex de Minaur, the Australian ninth seed, withdrew because of a hip injury.

Musetti's record against Djokovic, who he will face on Friday in Centre Court, is not a good one. He has only won one of their six meetings, with losses in the French Open at both the last-16 phase in 2021 and round three in May.

Entertaining Musetti gains best win of career

Fritz, the 13th seed, had come into this match in great form after eliminating fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the last 16.

On a packed Court One and with the roof open, Fritz continued that momentum, holding off two break points in the opening game and then securing the decisive break himself in the fourth game.

He also broke the Italian's serve at the start of the second set, but the athletic Musetti, with an entertaining, attacking style and a great range of shots, showed his fighting spirit by instantly getting the break back.

Musetti missed a set-point chance in the 10th game of the second set, which went to a tie-break, but the 25th seed moved 4-1 ahead and stayed in front for the rest of it.

A third set was dominated by Musetti in his first Grand Slam quarter-final, but Fritz responded in the same fashion with some of his best tennis of the match in the fourth to force a decider.

Giving the nature of the previous four sets, it was then a surprise to see Musetti race clear into a 5-0 advantage as he closed in on the semi-finals. Fritz slipped and may have injured his knee as the Italian moved to match point, but Fritz was able to face one more point, which Musetti won to seal a superb victory.

Fritz has now lost in all his four Grand Slam quarter-finals after exiting at this stage at Wimbledon two years ago, the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January.

Since the Open Era began in 1968, the United States have had more men's champions than any other nation with 15 successes, but Fritz's elimination means another year has gone by without an American winner, with their last male champion being Pete Sampras in 2000.

Musetti's run is another great moment for Italian tennis. Jannik Sinner is the current world number one, Matteo Berrettini lost to Djokovic in the 2021 final, but there has never been an Italian men's singles champion at Wimbledon.

Could that change this year?