Taylor Fritz didn’t even qualify for the ATP Finals, but now he’s in the last four.
Fritz got in only after Carlos Alcaraz withdrew, and he’s made the most of his fortunes in his debut.
Today, Fritz reached the semifinals with a stunning win over Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 in what was a virtual semifinal with the winner moving on and the loser going home.
Powered by his booming serve, Fritz was too tough in the opener edging the favorite Canadian. Auger-Aliassime wasn’t able to break in the second set either, but managed to scratch out the breaker to stay alive.
In the third, Fritz would get a break in the sixth game and rolled to the semifinals.
“I needed to serve well the whole time, I knew that,” Fritz said. “It was frustrating throughout the match when so many points I was one away from break point. So many times at 15-30, 0-30 when I was returning, I got myself in the points and kept losing the points. I just tried to stay patient and not get frustrated and then I capitalized when I got the chances.”
Auger-Aliassime drops to 0-2 career against the American, with both losses this year.
“It was a very high-quality match for sure,” Auger-Aliassime said. “In the third set, bad choices, bad execution some parts. Maybe I lost the focus a little bit. The fact that I’m tired, sometimes you don’t feel like you’re tired, but it’s late, you’ve played a lot. I’ve played a long year.
Fritz will have a day off before returning Saturday to face the Red Group winner which will be either Novak Djokovic or the Stefanos Tsitsipas-Andrey Rublev winner.
Earlier, Rafael Nadal got a win topping Casper Ruud 7-5, 7-5 in a rematch of their French Open. The win snapped Nadal 4-match losing streak. Ruud had already won the Green Group so all the two were playing for was points (200) and prize money (over $380K).
“I have been practicing well,” Nadal said. “Just probably not enough matches to be at the level that I needed to be. Not enough confidence, probably, after six tough months. That’s how it is. I accept that the season didn’t end the way that I wanted, at least I finished with a positive victory.
“It’s important, the last official match of the season, so I am happy for that. At the end I am happy about that… I was able to win against a great player.”
On Friday, the round-robin wraps up with Djokovic trying to stay undefeated against rival Daniil Medvedev who has been eliminated.
The big match is a winner-take-all between Tsitsipas and Rublev.
Both Djokovic and the Tsitsipas-Rublev winner will have to return Saturday for the semifinals.
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Djokovic made things a lot harder on himself than was necessary today. He needs to sit down with his team and talk about not being predictable with his patterns for shot direction. Medvedev did it better than I’ve ever seen by any player against Djokovic today. On a 50/50 shot where if he puts it in the right corner he hits a winner, he hit it in the direction that Medvedev chose every time except maybe once that I can remember the whole match. Also, this is where Djokovic needs to take a page out of Federers book. Federer would have absolutely dominated his head to head with Medvedev had they played more. I just checked and Federer was 3 and 0 against Medvedev. Federer was more creative and better at Finishing points than Djokovic is, and that’s what you need against Medvedev. It’s the same reason Kyrgios beats Medvedev. They don’t get dragged into 20 to 30 or more shot rallies over and over and over again the way Djokovic is forced to do against Medvedev. And you could see that Medvedev was getting more and more motivated to keep his energy up when he saw time after time that he was frustrating Djokovic and getting to him physically. The exact thing that I didn’t want to happen today happened. Djokovic plays a 3 hour plus physical match that had no effect on the standings and now there is no day in between to rest. What a nightmare. Hopefully he is ready physically in time for Fritz.
November 18th, 2022 at 1:37 pm