Indian Wells (USA), Oct 16 | American Taylor Fritz came back from the verge of defeat and saved two match points before going on to stun World No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open, making it to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.
The 23-year-old American continued his dream run, rallying from 2-5 down in the decider and saved two match points at 3-5, 30/40 and 4-5, 30/40 to upset Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) after two hours and 22 minutes. Fritz thus earned the second Top-5 win of his career to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.
“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it,” Fritz said in his on-court interview.
“I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match. Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on,” he was quoted as saying in a report on the official website of ATP Tour.
The 31st seed, who recorded straight-set wins over ATP Finals hopefuls Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner en route to his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final, played aggressive tennis against Zverev, firing 36 winners to advance.
Fritz now trails Zverev 2-3 in head-to-head on ATP tour and will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last four after the Georgian overcame second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to reach his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final.
“The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game,” Fritz said. “Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure.
“It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true,” he said.
After losing the first set, Fritz changed his tactics in the second set and started to play aggressively as he blasted 13 winners, overpowering Zverev to march 4-1 ahead. After Fritz sealed the set on his serve, Zverev regained momentum in the decider as he continued to soak up the 31st seed’s power. The American’s level slightly dipped in the third set and after Zverev broke early, he was able to put his foot down and roared into a 5-2 lead.
However, the German’s second serve abandoned him when he was trying to serve out the match. Zverev struck two double faults as Fritz broke back. After moving to a tie-break, the American found his best tennis to prevail in a tight match.
Earlier, Basilashvili too sprung a surprise on Friday, earning the biggest win of his career with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 upset of World No. 3 Tsitsipas to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov will take on Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the other semi-final.
The Georgian was competing in his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final and produced an impressive performance as he caused Tsitsipas problems from the baseline with his powerful groundstrokes, raising his level in the third set to advance after two hours and nine minutes.
In a lively first set, Basilashvili made a fast start as he broke in the opening game, causing Tsitsipas problems with his powerful groundstrokes. The Georgian controlled the tempo of the match, notching 14 winners in the first set as Tsitsipas struggled to find his rhythm from the baseline.
However, the Greek began to gain momentum in the second set as he dominated the longer rallies. The 23-year-old did not face a breakpoint on his serve as he levelled.
After breaks were exchanged in the third set, Basilashvili produced a strong return game and was gifted the lead when Tsitsipas double-faulted on break to move 4-3 ahead. From there, the Georgian kept his composure, fending off pressure from Tsitsipas to hold serve twice to advance.
Tsitsipas was aiming to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semi-final in North America, having enjoyed a run to the last four in Toronto and Cincinnati. The Monte-Carlo champion has earned a tour-leading 54 victories this season.
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