Taylor Tears Up With Australian Open Breakthrough

  • Posted: Jan 22, 2022

One small step in Melbourne, one giant leap for Taylor Fritz.

The 24-year-old American finally reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time after battling past Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Australian Open on Saturday.

It was the 20th seed’s first third-round win at the majors in eight attempts, and he sees it as another important achievement on his journey to the top. “It’s huge,” said Fritz in his post-match press conference. “It seems stupid, like after that match I was almost close to tearing up a bit. So many people have made the second week of Slams, but it’s just eluded me for so long… it means a tonne. I’m proud, it didn’t come easy, I beat an incredibly tough guy.”

Fritz’s previous third-round opponents at majors have included World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and 2020 U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem. The American acknowledged that draws haven’t always favoured him, but he had always retained belief in his own ability to reach a fourth round.

“I never doubted it would happen,” said the World No. 22, “but I definitely was getting sick of playing Top-4 players for the opportunity every time.

“I have had a lot of tough matches, honestly a lot of tough draws, never gotten a great look at it. I served for the match in one of them, and then one of the other more winnable ones, my opponent just played amazing, was way too good.”

Fritz will be able to measure his progress further when he takes on fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round in Melbourne. The Greek leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0, but the pair has not met since 2019. “We played quite a bit in the juniors,” said Fritz on the Greek World No. 4. “We’ve definitely had some battles, but I feel like it’s not a bad matchup for me at all.

“I’m playing well, so I kind of just have to recover well. Funny enough, I feel much better after this match than I did after my last match. If my body is feeling good and I’m feeling good, then I feel confident.”

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