Fritz ‘Choked’, Then Upset Top Seed In Eastbourne
American Taylor Fritz willed himself to his third quarter-final of 2019 on Wednesday, overcoming a late stumble to upset top seed Guido Pella of Argentina 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne.
The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier hit 13 aces and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points to notch his first victory of the grass-court season. Fritz also made the quarter-finals at the ASB Classic in Auckland and the semi-finals at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.
“I tried to just attack with my backhand, take my backhand early, crosscourt as much as possible. I knew he was going to play the forehand cross to my backhand. I wanted to rush his forehand and just be aggressive whenever I was able to,” Fritz said.
The 21-year-old was broken while serving for the match at 5-3 in the third set but refused to stay down.
“I just played a really poor game. I didn’t make any first serves. The only way to say it is I really choked that game,” Fritz said. “I switched sides and told myself, ‘I can’t lose’, because I’ll be so mad if I lose this match because of how I played that game when I was trying to serve out the match.”
Fritz will next meet Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who also competed at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The 22-year-old Hurkacz beat Steve Johnson of the U.S. 6-3, 7-6(5) to also make his third quarter-final of the season (BNP Paribas Open, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships).
Third seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain saved all three break points to beat countryman Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-2. Edmund, No. 31 in the ATP Rankings, is through to his first tour-level quarter-final of the season and improved to 7-11 on the season. He will next meet Brit Daniel Evans, who dismissed Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 7-5.
Read More: Herbert Narrows His Vision
Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano upset second seed Laslo Djere of Serbia 7-6(5), 7-6(6) and will next meet France’s Gilles Simon. American Sam Querrey, who made the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017 (l. to Cilic), didn’t face a break point and dropped only eight service points (37/45, 82%) to beat Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-3 in only 50 minutes.
Querrey will next face fifth seed Fernando Verdasco, who beat Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(2). Verdasco, who saved both break points faced, trails Querrey 1-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the two have never played on grass.
Top Seeds Advance In Doubles
In doubles, Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah beat home favourites Daniel Evans/Lloyd Glasspool 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 to setup a semi-final showdown with Dominic Inglot/Austin Krajicek, who beat Marcus Daniell/Wesley Koolhof 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.
Third seeds Fabrice Martin/Edouard Roger-Vasselin dismissed Ben McLachlan/Frederik Nielsen 6-3, 6-4 and will next meet second seeds Maximo Gonzalez/Horacio Zeballos, who beat Rohan Bopanna/Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-3.