Zverev Chokes, Put Fritz Into First Masters SF At Indian Wells; Tsitsipas Upset
by Staff | October 15th, 2021, 11:27 pm
  • 1 Comment

For the first time in Masters history (280 events), there will be no Top 25 players in a Masters semifinals, that’s the case at Indian Wells.

One semifinal was already set between Grigor Dimitrov and Cameron Norrie. Today, the favorites Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were expected to restore order. That never happened.

Tsitsipas fell apart to the bashing Nikolaz Basilasvili who derailed the Greek in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to advance to his biggest career semifinal.

“I have played really great matches this tournament,” Basilashvili said. “I was not that happy with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels. First time in the quarter-finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is a super tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed.”

Basilashvili’s grip-it-and-rip-it style prevailed of the failing Tsitsipas in the third. The Georgian is having another great week in a desert stop after his Doha title earlier in the year.

“I have spent a lot of time working hard,” Basilashvili said. “I have been playing really well. For me to overcome stressful moments I am really happy. I also found it here that the conditions don’t suit my game because the balls fly a lot, but this year I am playing well.”

In the semifinals, it won’t be Zverev — who like Basilashvili is also facing domestic abuse issues — but instead Taylor Fritz.

In the slugfest, the American came from 5-2 down in the third, saving two match points, to stun Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3).

Zverev, who had been serving so well all summer since Wimbledon, had 5-3, 30-0 and then tossed in a double fault at match point at 40-30. He had another on Fritz’s serve in the next game. But Fritz simply domimated the breaker en route to one of his best career wins.

“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it,” Fritz told the fans. “I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match. Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on.

“The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game,” Fritz added. “Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure.

“It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true.”

With all the upsets, Zverev missed a golden chance to steal a Masters title.

“Today was just not really my day, to be honest,” Zverev said. “I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not quite there for me. Fritz played a great match. He deserves to be in the semi-finals. Today mentally is not easy for me.

“I have played well. But this one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favorite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn’t there.”

Fritz, who resides in San Diego, is also in his first Masters semifinal. So between him and Basilashvili, one will make a final.

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