Fritz Fires To Fourth Challenger Title
A LOOK BACK
Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach (Newport Beach, California, USA): Taylor Fritz couldn't have dreamt of a better start to the year. Just three weeks after kicking off 2018 with a final run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Noumea, the #NextGenATP American went one step further on Sunday in Newport Beach. Fritz lifted a trophy for the first time in two years, rallying past countryman Bradley Klahn 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 in one hour and 35 minutes.
The 20-year-old is not only up to No. 76 in the ATP Rankings, his highest position in more than a year, but the California native also moves to third in the ATP Race To Milan. On the rise once again, Fritz is targeting a Top 50 breakthrough in 2018.
"I have a couple goals. My first goal is to be in the Top 50," Fritz said. "I've been trying to do that for a while now and I think everything is starting to come together. It started coming together at the end of last year. Stay healthy and then long term, once I get to that goal, I really want to get seeded at the Australian Open next year. That’s my ultimate goal for this year.
“[Winning this title] just felt so good. Even though it was 5-0 (in the third set), I wanted it so bad. I was super tense. It’s been so long since I’ve won a title, which made it even more special. It’s been two years since I’ve won a tournament. It means so much for my confidence to get me back on track.”
Open de Rennes (Rennes, France): Second seed Vasek Pospisil claimed his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday in Rennes, routing Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-2 in 72 minutes. The Canadian has won 10 straight matches on the circuit, dating back to his victory in Busan, South Korea in May 2017. His impressive ATP Rankings ascent continues as well, returning to the Top 100 at No. 85. Pospisil, who stunned then-World No. 1 Andy Murray at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells last year, is trending upwards as he seeks a return to top form.
A LOOK AHEAD
Kei Nishikori continues his comeback at the RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas, where he is joined by #NextGenATP Americans Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul and Reilly Opelka. Former champion Tim Smyczek is also in the field.
Meanwhile, in Burnie, Australia, Marcel Granollers is the top seed and is in search of his third title to open the year. Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka is also on the comeback trail after suffering a torn ACL in 2017. In Quimper, France, Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed, with fifth seed Quentin Halys leading home hopes.