In the match of the day in the men’s draw, Taylor Fritz got over on Andrey Rublev yet again, edging the Russian 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5 in the third round Thursday afternoon at the Cincinnati Masters.
Seeking to end a 2-match losing streak to the American, Rublev rebounded from dumping the second set to get his serve cracking. And it was. But Rublev could not convert early break chances in the decider and that would cost him.
The two reached 5-all and Rublev finally blinked under the pressure.
“I felt at times my serve rhythm was going away, but I just didn’t want to go a break down in the second set. I tried to hit some good serves, take some more risks,” Fritz said on court. “I thought at the end of the first I was too passive. So I told myself to take chances.
“It was a big match. I wasn’t going to let anything really bother me or affect me to where it might affect me to lose the match. Every time something didn’t go my way, I tried to analyze it and think about what to do next time to try and win the point.”
Fritz will meet another Russian in top seed and 2019 winner Daniil Medvedev. The world No. 1 knocked out Denis Shapovalov in straight sets 7-5, 7-5.
“The match was pretty tight. I felt that it was a great level. I felt that he was missing a bit more than me but making more points, but that is how Shapo plays,” Medvedev told the crowd. “My goal was to stay there every point possible and try and put pressure on him when I had the chance. But there were many points where I was just running across the baseline, trying to get back his shots. Generally happy with the level.”
Fritz and Medvedev will meet for the first time on Friday.
“Taylor is a great player. We have hit quite a few times. Before ATP Cup we had a session and I think he beat me, which doesn’t really matter, but I said to my coach, ‘Wow he can play really well, it can be a good year for him.’ Then he won Indian Wells,” Medvedev said. “Maybe he could have done better at some other tournaments, but he is a Masters champion. He is an amazing player and I need to be at my best to try and beat him.”
Cameron Norrie stopped the run of college champion Ben Shelton 6-0, 6-2. He’ll now meet Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz. The youngster hung on to win a scratchy first set to win over Marin Cilic 7-6(4), 6-1. Alcaraz served for the first at 5-4 and then tossed in three straight double faults, but then overwhelmed the Croat in the breaker.
“I know that Marin is a really aggressive player. I had to be really focused on the match,” Alcaraz said. “I knew that it was going to be a tough match, that I had to be [mentally] in the match all the time. I knew that I was going to have my chances to break his big serve. So I’m really happy with the performance and the focus in the match.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime saved two match point to win a thriller over Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1. He’ll now meet Borna Coric who kept going with a straight set win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
John Isner did his usual, win in a final set breaker. His victim this time was Sebastian Korda. Isner, a former Cincinnati finalist, will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday.
FRIDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
Center Court Starts At 11:00 Am
Madison Keys vs Elena Rybakina
Not Before 1:00 Pm
1 Daniil Medvedev vs 11 Taylor Fritz
Not Before 3:00 Pm
4 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs John Isner
Not Before 7:00 PM
7 Jessica Pegula vs (Q) Caroline Garcia
9 Cameron Norrie vs 3 Carlos Alcaraz
Grand Stand Starts At 11:00 Am
6 Desirae Krawczyk/Demi Schuurs vs Nicole Melichar/Martinez Ellen Perez
Not Before 1:30 PM
(Q) Ajla Tomljanovic vs Petra Kvitova
Not Before 3:30 PM
Aryna Sabalenka vs Shuai Zhang
Not Before 7:00 Pm
7 Felix Auger-Aliassime (PR) vs Borna Coric
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