Fritz Leads #NextGenATP Success In Winston-Salem
#NextGenATP Taylor Fritz was slipping and nearly out of the Winston-Salem Open on Monday evening.
The American had dropped five consecutive games to Tunisia's Malek Jaziri and risked going down a set and a double break to the 33-year-old veteran and 2015 Winston-Salem Open semi-finalist.
But Fritz erased four break points in that 1-2 game in the second set, and the hold energised his play. The 19 year old evened the match and earned a crucial break in the decider to serve out the contest and advance 4-6, 6-4 6-3 in two hours and three minutes.
Fritz, a wild-card entry, hit 12 aces and had success with his serve-forehand combination throughout the match, especially in the latter stages. The 6'4” right-hander hit 33 winners to 37 unforced errors.
Earlier this month, Fritz reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season at the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos before falling to eventual finalist and #NextGenATP Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis. In Winston-Salem, Fritz will next face 10th seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan. Sugita is coming off his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final last week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
#NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev won 92 per cent of his first-serve points (22/24) and feasted on Steve Darcis' second serve (19/29) to beat the Belgian 6-4, 6-4. Rublev will next play 13th seed and #NextGenATP Korean Hyeon Chung.
Fritz (14th), Rublev (sixth) and Chung (eighth) will look to climb in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan this week. The top seven in the Race will qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan, with the eighth player chosen by wild card.
Fritz's compatriot Donald Young improved to 5-5 at Winston-Salem lifetime with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva. Young will meet #NextGenATP Croatian Borna Coric in the second round.
“Any win at this level before the [US] Open builds confidence so every win I get I feel a lot better about myself,” Young said.
Julien Benneteau, 2011 finalist, won the battle of Frenchmen 6-3, 6-2 against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and will next face second seed and defending champion Pablo Carreno Busta. “He has a very good first serve, and he can be very dangerous with his groundstrokes,” Benneteau said of his countryman. “I'm happy with the way I played today.”
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis punched the first ticket into the third round with a 6-2, 7-6(3) victory against 16th seed Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.