Taylor Fritz reached his third ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season Thursday at the Western & Southern Open, where he clawed past Andrey Rublev 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5 to set a potential clash with World No 1 Daniil Medvedev.
The American, who dispatched Nick Kyrgios in his second-round match in Cincinnati, showcased his defensive and offensive skills throughout the two-hour, 32-minute clash against Rublev, soaking up the sixth seed’s aggressive ball striking to improve to 4-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.
Fritz now holds a 35-13 record on the year and is the first American since John Isner and Jack Sock in 2017 to reach the last eight at three Masters 1000 events in a single season.
“I felt at times my serve rhythm was going away, but I just didn’t want to go a break down in the second set. I tried to hit some good serves, take some more risks,” Fritz said in his on-court interview. “I thought at the end of the first I was too passive. So I told myself to take chances [in the second set].
“It was a big game. I wasn’t going to let anything really bother me or affect me to where it might affect me to lose the match. Every time something didn’t go my way, I tried to analyze it and think about what to do next time to try and win the point.”
The 24-year-old defeated Rublev en route to his first Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells in March and will continue his quest for a third trophy of the season when he next plays Medvedev or Canadian Denis Shapovalov. Fritz had never been beyond the first round in Cincinnati in three previous appearances before this week.
@Taylor_Fritz97 has the hottest 🔥 Forehand (8.6/10) in @CincyTennis so far….#ShotQuality is calculated in real-time by analyzing each shot’s speed, spin, depth, width, and the impact it has on the opponent.#TennisInsights | #CincyTennis | @CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/kuqBfn8gZ9
— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) August 18, 2022
In a tight clash, both looked to step inside the baseline and dictate play off the ground. Rublev, who received a medical timeout during the match due to a leg injury, saved one set point on serve at 4-5 in the first set, before he found early momentum in the tie-break to move ahead.
However, Fritz upped his intensity in the second set and started to frustrate Rublev with his consistency, committing just four unforced errors to force a decider. With the pressure on, it was Fritz who held his nerve to advance, breaking in the 11th game of the third set before holding to triumph.
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Fritz is up to No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he looks to qualify and make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in November.
Rublev was looking to advance to his third Masters 1000 quarter-final of the year, having reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells and quarter-finals in Madrid. The 24-year-old, who edged Fabio Fognini in his opening match, reached the final in Cincinnati last season.