Dialled-In Fritz Moves Past Garin In Madrid

  • Posted: May 01, 2023

Dialled-In Fritz Moves Past Garin In Madrid

Eighth seed to take on Norrie or Zhang next in Spanish capital

Chasing his maiden ATP Tour title on clay at the Mutua Madrid Open, Taylor Fritz demonstrated his recent improvement on the surface Monday with a scintillating 6-1 7-6(4) third-round triumph against Cristian Garin.

The American marked his coach Michael Russell’s birthday with a lights-out performance on Arantxa Sanchez Stadium, where he struck the ball cleanly on serve and off the ground throughout his 92-minute victory. The No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Fritz fired 26 winners and held his nerve after Garin forced a second-set tie-break to reach the last 16 in Madrid for the first time in three appearances.

Fritz’s sublime display of hitting appeared to have the American on the way to a comfortable victory, but Garin converted his only break point of the match to level the second set at 5-5 to the delight of the Chilean contingent in the crowd. Fritz was not to be denied, however, and the 25-year-old produced a rock-solid tie-break to complete the win and level his ATP Head2Head series with Garin at 1-1.

“I think in the second set when I had some chances, I wasn’t taking them,” said Fritz, who converted three of his 12 break points overall. “When that happens, it kind of turns into one of those matches where I have all the chances and he’s going to get one, and he’s going to [take] it. I think he did well to fight off some break points and it made the match a bit tighter.”

Fritz has now reached at least the quarter-finals in all eight ATP Tour events he has played in 2023. That includes three tournaments on clay — in Monte-Carlo, Munich and now Madrid — and the American hopes his attempts at adapting his game for his least-favoured service can continue to pay dividends at the Caja Magica.

“It’s not grass and it’s not a hard court for me, but I’m making the most of it,” said Fritz. “If you want to be a top player, you need to have results on clay. So there’s not really anything else I can do other than just accept and do my best, and have a positive attitude about it.”

Now 7-2 for the year on clay, the Monte-Carlo semi-finalist Fritz will take on Cameron Norrie or Zhang Zhizhen as he chases his second ATP Masters 1000 title.

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