Fritz Reaches Acapulco Final With Stunning Comeback
Midway through his Friday semi-final with John Isner at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel por HSBC, Taylor Fritz was simply hoping for a respectable scoreline. He earned far more than that, rallying from a set and 2-4, 0/40 down to stun the fifth seed 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 and reach his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco.
“It’s huge for me. One of my biggest goals this year was to do well in the bigger tournaments,” Fritz said. “I hope that I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the year.”
Fritz’s outstanding turnaround puts him into his fifth ATP Tour final (1-3). The 22-year-old is also projected to reach a new career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 24 on Monday.
He joined 2017 champion Sam Querrey as the only Americans to reach the final in Acapulco. Fritz tied his ATP Head2Head series with Isner at 2-2 and has won their past two matches.
Awaiting him on Saturday is the winner of the other semi-final featuring top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal and seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Fritz has never played Nadal and defeated Dimitrov in their lone ATP Head2Head meeting last year in Madrid.
“I would love to win my first ATP 500 title,” Fritz said. “I’m definitely going to have a tough opponent, so I’ll just have to be at my best.”
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Fritz started slowly as Isner came out swinging from the first ball. Striking his returns within inches of the baseline, the fifth seed broke Fritz in the opening game with an overhead smash, then scored an insurance break two games later with a backhand return winner. Isner finished the opening set with 15 winners to seven errors.
It appeared that Isner would run through the match after breaking Fritz to love for a 3-2 lead in the second set and holding triple break point at 4-2. But the 22-year-old managed to hold serve and adjusted his tactics, finding a way to put more of Isner’s booming serves into play.
Fritz finally earned a pair of break points with Isner serving at 4-3 and tied the set score after the fifth seed hit a forehand into the net. Three games later, the young American ripped a backhand passing shot to earn two set points. He completed the staggering reversal and set up a decider after Isner flicked a backhand volley wide.
Perhaps miffed at dropping the momentum, a frustrated Isner dropped his opening service game in the final set with a double fault. The slight advantage was all Fritz needed and he maintained the lead to prevail after one hour and 41 minutes. He finished the night with 28 winners to 14 unforced errors and served more aces than Isner (15 to 13).