Taylor Fritz Moves Into A New Phase Of Career Following Shock Indian Wells Win - UBITENNIS
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Taylor Fritz Moves Into A New Phase Of Career Following Shock Indian Wells Win

The American entered into a final showdown with Rafael Nadal nursing an injury and was the underdog. Despite having the odds against him, he prevailed in straight sets to win the biggest title of his career to date.



Image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN/

Those of us in the sports writing profession can too easily resort to cliches when describing breakthrough feats from extraordinary athletes on consequential stages. We sometimes shower players with praise that may not be excessive, laud them for performances that might be overrated, and extol their virtues somewhat hyperbolically. That is the nature of our craft.


But as I sit here in front of a keyboard trying to put Taylor Fritz’s  Indian Wells triumph at the BNP Paribas Open in perspective, I can state unhesitatingly that this remarkable American has moved unequivocally into a new phase of his career. The 24-year-old hit a number of milestones by virtue of his victory on the 

California hard courts. He established himself as the first American man to rule at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001. Fritz had never even been to the final at a Masters 1000 tournament before. He was facing the redoubtable Rafael Nadal in the title round contest, and the Spaniard was in pursuit of a fourth crown.

Nadal had opened his 2022 campaign by sweeping three consecutive titles including his 21st major title at the Australian Open. It was looking increasingly likely that the 35-year-old warrior would head out onto the clay court circuit unbeaten for the year after his best ever start to a season. Moreover, he had won his only previous meeting with Fritz in the final of Acapulco 6-3, 6-2 two years ago in the final of Acapulco.

On top of all that, Fritz had injured himself near the end of his semifinal skirmish with Andrey Rublev. Some members of his team did not want him to walk on court with Nadal, fearing that he might exacerbate his ankle injury or perhaps have to retire early on. But Fritz, despite excruciating pain earlier that day on the practice court, trusted his own instincts and elected to put himself out there against one of the greatest players of all time.

Nadal, meanwhile, was confronting serious issues of his own. He had been bothered throughout the tournament by the same nagging foot ailment  that had kept him out of the game for most of the second half of 2021. Time and again, the left-handed Spanish wizard had survived harrowing battles to take his place in the final. But not only was Nadal concerned about his foot, he was also bothered by an apparent pectoral muscle issue that required treatment from the trainer down the stretch in his semifinal and again in his compelling contest with Fritz. Nadal’s serve was definitely not up to par and his ground game looked ragged at times, but he fought on valiantly on a windy day when he was clearly incapable of summoning his best stuff.

Remarkably, Fritz seemed comfortable physically from the outset despite wearing a blue bandage around his shin. The American was striking the ball with clean efficiency from the outset while Nadal seemed out of sorts and ill at ease. Here he was, striving to tie Novak Djokovic’s record of 37 Masters 1000 titles, appearing in his 53d final at that level. This was very familiar territory for the Spaniard.

But he was rocked back on his heels by the unrelenting big hitting and controlled aggression of Fritz. The home state hero broke Nadal in the opening game with a penetrating barrage of shots. Across the next three games, Fritz won 12 of 14 points to reach 4-0. Soon he extended his lead to 5-1. Although Nadal broke back to close the gap to 5-3, Fritz was undismayed, breaking Nadal in the ninth game for the third time to seal the set.


The Spaniard took a medical timeout after the set and elevated his game slightly, breaking for a 2-1 second set lead. A determined Fritz broke right back. On his way to 3-2, Fritz fought off four break points. The intensity on both sides of the net was soaring. At 4-4, Nadal garnered another break point after ruling in a 36 stroke exchange which he finished with a forehand passing shot winner, but once more Fritz was undaunted.

With Nadal serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Fritz made it to match point but Nadal erased it emphatically, lacing an unstoppable forehand inside in off a low return to halt the American. He held on gamely for 5-5 and soon reached 15-40 on the Fritz serve in the eleventh game. Yet the Spaniard made a forehand unforced error and then was aced by Fritz, who held on for 6-5. Nadal played a commanding game to hold at the cost of only one point for 6-6. On they went fittingly to a tie-break.

During the week, Fritz had gone 3-0 in tie-breaks but Nadal went one better at 4-0 prior to the final. The feeling here was that Fritz had to finish off a surging Nadal now or adrenaline and experience would carry the Spaniard safely and inexorably across the finish line. Nadal served with a 5-4 lead and had a tremendous opening. But he sent a forehand swing volley wide. Instead of a 6-4 lead with two set points at his disposal, Nadal was stuck at 5-5. He lost the next point when Fritz drove a flat forehand with the wind to force Nadal into an error. Serving at 6-5, arriving at match point for the second time, Fritz refused to buckle. Nadal’s return was short and Fritz’s forehand approach was struck with full conviction. Nadal barely touched that ball. Fritz had celebrated a career altering moment, defeating Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (5) for the biggest tournament win of his career, a triumph that will take the American all the way up to No. 13 in the world.


All week long, Nadal was living dangerously, winning more on grit, gumption and reputation than anything else. He commenced his journey for the first Masters 1000 crown of 2022 with an improbable escape against Sebastian Korda, the 6’5” American ranked No. 38 in the world. The 21-year-old Korda was driving through the ball beautifully off both sides and hitting Nadal off the court for a long spell, collecting 11 of 14 games to reach 5-2 in the final set. Nadal was attempting to answer pace with pace, and not succeeding. 

Nadal had served two double faults while losing his serve for the second time in that third set to go down two breaks. But Korda was not ready to meet the most consequential moment of his young career.

The son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda put only one first serve in play at 5-2 and made four unprovoked mistakes off the backhand. Nadal then held before Korda came within two points of victory when he served for the match a second time at 5-4, only to be thwarted by a nifty Nadal backhand lob down the line. Korda lunged for a backhand overhead but did not come close to making it.

A resolute Nadal was back to 5-5 but still struggling, fending off a break point in the eleventh game. In the end, he came through 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (3) by giving little away in the tie-break and winning the last five points from 2-3 down.

His difficulties were not over. Great Britain’s crafty Dan Evans moved ahead of the Spaniard 4-2 in the opening set but Nadal gradually found the range off his incomparable forehand and triumphed 7-5, 6-3. Facing the towering Reilly Opelka—who stands just a tad under seven feet tall—Nadal came through precariously 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5). Ranked No. 17 in the world when he took on Nadal, Opelka was poised to win the second set when Nadal trailed 2-4, 15-40. The American had three break points in that crucial seventh game but failed to put a return in play on any of them.

In the quarterfinals, we witnessed Round Nine in the compelling career series between Nadal and the mercurial Nick Kyrgios. Once more, Nadal relied on his big point propensity and match playing acumen to get him out of a match he could well have lost. Kyrgios was overpowering and disciplined until he served for the first set at 5-4 and reached 30-15. Nadal barely scraped back a sliced backhand down the line at full stretch that landed just inside the line. He won that point, took the next two points, and eventually sealed that set in a tie-break as the Australian imploded, receiving a point penalty on the final point. Nadal was letter perfect and Kyrgios self destructive as the Spaniard prevailed in that sequence 7-0.

Commendably, Kyrgios recovered a degree of composure and broke Nadal at the end of the second set with persistence on his side of the net and some tentative play from the Spaniard. But Nadal was true to character down the stretch, saving two break points to avoid a 2-0 third set deficit and later breaking Kyrgios at 3-3 by adjusting his return positioning adroitly. In a pulsating and entertaining clash, Nadal prevailed 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 for his sixth win in nine duels with the Australian. Nadal won only three more points in that encounter than Kyrgios (106 to 103) but when it mattered most he was the decidedly better player.

And so the stage was set for another riveting Nadal match in the penultimate round when he confronted countryman Carlos Alcaraz. The 18-year-old was on a mission at Indian Wells. His level of play in all four contests prior to his appointment with Nadal was nothing less than excellent. He took apart the capable American MacKenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-3, crushed Roberto Bautista Agut—one of the sport’s wiliest veterans—by the barely credible scores of 6-2, 6-0, moved past Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-1 and upended the guileful left-hander Cam Norrie 6-4, 6-3.

Nadal was well aware of the spectacular Alcaraz run, and knew full well that obliterating his stunningly gifted adversary last spring 6-1, 6-2 on the dirt in Madrid meant nothing now. Alcaraz has improved immensely since then, and he approached this meeting no longer in awe of his idol but quietly confident that he could get the job done.

Alcaraz moved in front 2-0 after a long service game and Nadal was behind 0-30 in the third game following a double fault and a netted drop shot. But, critically, he held on there and clenched his fist, knowing how badly he needed that game. Nadal rolled to 4-2, dropped the next two games but still won the set 6-4 despite some flagrant mistakes.

By the end of that opening set, the conditions were abysmal. The ferocity of the wind—with gusts in the range of 50 MPH—was hindering both players significantly. The situation worsened in the second set and both combatants were severely compromised. It was not unlike the day Nadal beat Andy Murray handily in the 2009 Indian Wells final and was also reminiscent of the 2012 U.S. Open final when Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in five sets, not to mention the Djokovic-Ferrer semifinal in the same tournament which was carried over a day after play commenced with the wind making two extraordinary players look pedestrian.

Who can forget semifinal day at Roland Garros three years ago when Nadal ousted Roger Federer in straight sets in horrific conditions with the wind whipping around Chatrier Stadium uncontrollably? Later that day, Djokovic fell behind Dominic Thiem in the second semifinal and the Serbian justifiably insisted on play being postponed until the following day, when Thiem came out on top in five sets.

Where does this Nadal-Alcaraz confrontation rank among some of these extraordinarily windy occasions? That is a difficult question to answer, but this much is certain: what the two Spaniards encountered—especially in the second set—was outrageous. Under the horrid circumstances, they performed stupendously, but nowhere near their normal standards.

In the second set, as both players served with considerably less velocity, there were five service breaks in a row. Alcaraz achieved the last of those breaks for 5-4 with a sparkling backhand topspin lob winner that defied belief and then he held to seal a hard earned and stressful set. The teenager had dealt with the burdensome conditions admirably. Nadal has demonstrated time and again across the years that he is a more adaptable in the wind than most of his peers, and yet on this occasion he struggled inordinately to cope.

Be that as it may, the wind gradually diminished in the third set. It was still substantial but not nearly as forceful. At 2-2, Alcaraz had his chance, thrice reaching break point in that pivotal game. But Nadal sensed the urgency of the situation and played accordingly. He held on steadfastly, saving the first break point with a first serve down the middle setting up a forehand winner; erasing the second with an overhead winner; and releasing a service winner out wide on the third. From 3-3 and deuce in that final set, Nadal was impenetrable, securing three games in a row to finish it off, taking the last seven points of the contest. He volleyed impeccably in that stretch, much the way he had against Daniil Medvedev when they met in Acapulco a few weeks earlier. The Spaniard’s low backhand volley has never been better. His anticipation in the forecourt was uncanny.

But Nadal was spent for the final while, strikingly, Fritz was not. Fritz had a very tough time himself reaching the final. His early rounds were filled with fraught and he did not do himself full justice. But the fact remains that he came through honorably in the clutch to pull out some very hard fought matches. After dismissing Kamil Majchrzak of Poland (the world No. 75), 6-1, 6-1, Fritz accounted for Spain’s Jaume Munar (the world No. 99) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2). In the round of 16 against the Australian Alex de Minaur, Fritz rallied to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Now in the quarterfinals, Fritz had to work hard again before subduing the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (5) 3-6, 6-1.

Remarkably, Fritz took his game up immeasurably to beat Rublev 7-5, 6-4. The Russian had won two tournaments and 13 matches in a row but wasted a comeback from 2-5 down in the first set. He was so infuriated that he bashed his hand with his racket several times and brought up blood. It was in the penultimate game of that match that Fritz realized he had a leg/ankle issue. Yet somehow he came away with the crown and played stupendously at times against Nadal, driving the ball through the wind with astonishing depth and control, making only 22 unforced errors, which was 12 fewer than Nadal. Fritz redefined himself with his singular accomplishment over such a formidable adversary.

The Spaniard will undoubtedly use the next month to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally before commencing his clay court campaign in Monte Carlo. But what of the other major casualties at Indian Wells? Daniil Medvedev had just celebrated his rise to No. 1 in the world but he dropped nine of the last ten games from 3-3 in the second set against Monfils, who sparred with the Russian cagily until finding the openings to blast outright winners off the forehand. Monfils was terrific but Medvedev unraveled and was listless and almost resigned to defeat.

Medvedev has not really recovered from his debilitating loss to Nadal in the final of the Australian Open when he led two sets to love and had Nadal cornered at 2-3, 0-40 in the third set. The Russian sorely needs to win the upcoming Masters 1000 tournament in Miami, but I doubt he has the confidence to do it right now.

Similarly, Sascha Zverev has wandered through 2022 unhappily thus far. He was fortunate to be given a probation rather than a suspension after smashing the umpires chair in Acapulco. Perhaps that embarrassing episode has lingered because Zverev suffered an avoidable loss against the plucky American Tommy Paul, who played a scintillating tie-break at the end to topple Zverev in three sets. The fact remains that Zverev was serving with a 4-2 final set lead when he released no fewer than four double faults to get broken.

Surely Medvedev and Zverev are surrounded by doubts at the moment as they move toward Miami and try to resume their winning ways. I don’t expect much from Zverev in Miami either. 

There is no clear favorite at the moment. Fritz will surely need some time to digest the most emotional and gratifying win of his career. I believe he will play some very good tennis on the clay, make his presence known at Wimbledon in the latter stages, and then do some fine work on the hard courts over the summer in Canada and the U.S. Winning such an important tournament will change this young man irrevocably, but the fact remains he needs some time to grow into a new psychological space and get used to his loftier surroundings and expectations. Alcaraz will be dangerous again in Miami and it would not surprise me in the least if he takes the title. As for Rafael Nadal, he will get over his Indian Wells loss swiftly. As long as his body heals and he is healthy on the red clay, no one is going to want any part of him during that stretch of the season.


Roland Garros Daily Preview: Teen Sensations Meet in the Third Round



Coco Gauff this week in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

Third round singles action concludes on Saturday in Paris.


In what could be the first of many battles between two of tennis’ most promising young stars, 19-year-old Coco Gauff will face 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.  And the top two American men, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, take on considerable opposition in Francisco Cerundolo and Sascha Zverev, respectively.   

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.

Mirra Andreeva (Q) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Second on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Gauff is 21-8 on the year despite changes to her coaching team and some continued issues with the mechanics of her game, primarily her forehand and serve.  She was the runner-up here a year ago, losing 6-1, 6-3 in the final to Iga Swiatek.  Coco dropped the first set in her opener, but has easily secured her four sets played since.

Andreeva is ranked 143rd in the world, but she started the year 312th.  She is an excellent 22-2 at all levels, including qualifying.  Mirra has taken all 10 sets she’s played since the beginning of qualifying last week.  The tennis world first took notice of her earlier this clay court season in Madrid, when she upset Leylah Fernandez, Beatriz Haddad Maia, and Magda Linette to reach the fourth round.

On Saturday, I would not be shocked to witness Andreeva upset Gauff.  Coco has not been playing her best tennis of late, going just 3-3 on clay ahead of this fortnight.  And she has the pressure of defending finalist points on her young shoulders.  But Gauff has a big game, and certainly has a huge edge in experience, both of which should be enough to propel her to victory.

Francisco Cerundolo (23) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Third on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

It will be quite interesting to see and hear how the French crowd treats Fritz on Saturday after provoking, trolling, and shushing the audience on Thursday evening.  Taylor may live to regret that decision, as the French tennis fans have long memories, and love to involve themselves in matches.  Fritz is now a strong 31-11 this season, and looking to advance to the second week of this tournament for the first time.

Cerundolo is 22-14 this year, and 15-9 on clay.  All three of his career ATP finals have come on this surface, including just last week in Lyon. 

So what will prevail on Saturday: Taylor’s serving prowess, or Francisco’s formidable forehand?  In another first career meeting on the day, I give the American the slight edge.  While the crowd will be against him, he is much more experienced at this stage of a Major.  Prior to this year, Cerundolo was 0-4 in the main draw at Slams.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Lesia Tsurenko – Third on Court Simonne-Mathieu

Andreescu’s victory over Victoria Azarenka in the first round was quite a surprise.  Bianca was just 9-9 on the year, and 0-2 on clay, a surface where she only owns 14 career victories.  She has unfortunately suffered setback after setback since her amazing 2019 season, yet continues to try to fight her way back to the top of the sport.

Tsurenko, a Ukrainian, has been open regarding how hard it has been to play on tour for the last year-and-a-half.  She even withdrew from Indian Wells in March, after having a panic attack which she blamed on unsettling comments from WTA CEO Steve Simon regarding Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.  But Lesia is now a superb 27-8 this season at all levels, and eliminated 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova in the first round.

Their only prior encounter occurred earlier this year on a hard court in Hua Hin, when Tsurenko was leading 7-5, 4-0 in the semifinals before Andreescu retired from the match.  And on Saturday, I lean towards Lesia to prevail again based on both players’ form this season.

Sascha Zverev (22) vs. Frances Tiafoe (12) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Tiafoe is 23-8 in 2023, and while clay is not his strongest surface, he did win a 250-level title at the start of the clay season in Houston.  Frances was just 1-7 lifetime at Roland Garros before this week, at the only Major where he’s yet to reach the second week.

Of course it was at this event a year ago when Zverev suffered that gruesome, upsetting ankle injury in the semifinals against Rafael Nadal, ending his 2022 season.  He is yet to rediscover his top form this year, with a modest record of 18-14.  But Sascha did claim his first two matches this week in straight sets.

Zverev has dominated their history, with a 6-1 edge.  However, they haven’t played in over 18 months, and Tiafoe and Zverev are both different players than they were in 2021.  Yet on this surface, Sascha should be favored to advance after an extended battle on Saturday night.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Elena Rybakina (4) vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo – It’s hard to find two more polar opposite styles: the power of Rybakina, and the grinding defense of Sorribes Tormo.  Neither player has dropped a set to this stage, and Sara took their only previous meeting, two years ago on a hard court in Miami.

Zhizhen Zhang vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Ruud has not repeated his great success from 2022 during 2023, with an 18-11 record to date.  Zhizhen made his big breakthrough earlier this year in Madrid, where he won three consecutive third-set tiebreaks over Denis Shapovalov, Cam Norrie, and Taylor Fritz.  He is the first Chinese man to win a match at the French Open in 86 years, as he and Wu Yibing continue to break new ground for Chinese tennis.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (23) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) – This is the farthest Haddad Maia has ever advanced at a Major.  This is Alexandrova’s sixth time in the third round of a Slam, but she’s yet to go farther.  They’ve played twice before in qualifying for events in 2017, with Beatriz winning both matches.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Xinyu Wang – Swiatek won her first two matches by the same score: 6-4, 6-0.  And Iga is 4-0 in the third round of Roland Garros.  Xinyu is also yet to lose a set, in her best performance at a Major to date.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: Alcaraz, Djokovic Face Seeded Opposition on Friday



Carlos Alcaraz on Monday in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

Third round singles action commences on Friday in Paris.


In the top half of the ATP singles draw, which plays on Friday, 11 of 16 seeds have advanced to the third round, making for some blockbuster encounters.  But in the bottom half of the WTA singles draw, which also plays on Friday, only six of 16 seeds remain after two rounds, leaving plenty of room for new names to break through to the second week of this Major.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.

Novak Djokovic (3) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29) – Court Philippe-Chatrier

Djokovic is now 22-4 on the year, despite his vaccination status and an elbow injury forcing him to miss multiple events.  And despite whatever this thing is taped to his chest.  Novak hasn’t dropped a set through two rounds, and hasn’t failed to advance beyond the third round of this tournament since 2009, when he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

Davidovich Fokina is 19-13 in 2023, and was a quarterfinalist here two years ago.  The 23-year-old is a flashy, emotional, and inconsistent player.  But he’s capable of defeating top players, as he did Djokovic last year in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic claimed their other two meetings easily in straight sets, back in 2021.  And on Friday, the 22-time Major champion is a considerable favorite to prevail again, especially in the best-of-five format.

Lorenzo Musetti (17) vs. Cameron Norrie (14) – Third in Court Simonne-Mathieu

Like Alejandro, Lorenzo is a flashy, uber-talented young player.  But his results are also up-and-down, with a record of 15-12 this season.  The 21-year-old advanced to the round of 16 in Paris two years ago, when he was up two sets against Djokovic before succumbing and retiring two games from defeat.

Norrie is the opposite: a consistent, less glitzy performer.  The British No.1 is 29-10 on the season, and has been one of the ATP’s winningest players the last two seasons.  However, he is 0-2 in the third round of this event, losing to Rafael Nadal and Karen Khachanov the last two years.

Their only prior matchup took place earlier this clay court season in Barcelona, with Musetti coming from a set down to win 6-1 in the third.  But this is another case where the best-of-five format favors the higher seed and more fit player in Norrie, while the slight upset by the Italian and his formidable backhand would not be shocking.

Diego Schwartzman vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) – Last on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Tsitsipas is 27-8 this season, yet is 0-5 in his last five tournament finals, dating back nearly a year.  That includes a straight-set loss to Djokovic in the championship match of January’s Australian Open.

Schwartzman has seriously struggled this year, with a record of 5-16 at all levels coming into this fortnight, arriving in Paris on a five-match losing streak.  However, he has advanced to the fourth round or better at this tournament in four of the last five years, and remains a considerable threat on this surface.

Stefanos leads their head-to-head 4-2 overall, and 2-0 on clay.  And based on recent form, the Greek is a significant favorite on Friday.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Denis Shapovalov (26) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Alcaraz is 32-3 in 2023, and 22-2 on clay.  He’s accumulated four titles, three of which came on this surface.  Carlitos was a quarterfinalist here a year ago, losing in four sets to Sascha Zverev.

It’s been a really rough season for Shapovalov.  The Canadian was 7-9 on the year coming into the French Open, and 1-2 on clay.  And this easily remains his worst Major, with a lifetime record of 4-4, and this third round appearance being his best result to date.

In their first career meeting, the 20-year-old Spaniard is a strong favorite to prevail. 

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Elise Mertens (28) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Both players are yet to drop a set, though Pegula received a retirement from Camila Giorgi after one set on Wednesday.  Mertens leads their head-to-head 2-0, with both matches taking place a few years ago on hard courts.

Karen Khachanov (11) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (WC) – Khachanov came back from two sets down in his opening round contest against Constant Lestienne of France, while Kokkinakis survived a grueling five-setter in the last round against Stan Wawrinka.  When they played five years ago on clay in Monte Carlo, Karen prevailed in straight sets.

Kamilla Rakhimova vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now 31-5 on the year, but is vying to reach the round of 16 in Paris for the first time.  Rakhimova is a 21-year-old who has never advanced to the round of 16 at any Major.  This is a first career meeting between two more players who have not dropped a set.

Lorenzo Sonego vs. Andrey Rublev (7) – Rublev has won consecutive four-setters to reach this stage.  Sonego already took out another seed, Ben Shelton.  These players have split two prior tour-level meetings, with Lorenzo claiming the one contested on clay.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Excited’ To Break More Records After Sealing 20th Roland Garros Win

Stefanos Tsitsipas is ‘excited’ to break more records after securing his 20th Roland Garros victory.



Stefanos Tsitsipas (@atptour - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas is ‘excited’ to break more records as he claimed a 20th victory at Roland Garros.


The Greek progressed to the third round of Roland Garros with a straight sets win over Roberto Carballes Baena.

Tsitsipas’ win was the 51st of his Grand Slam career as well as the 20th victory that he secured at Roland Garros.

Speaking after the win Tsitsipas spoke about the satisfaction he gets when he breaks records, “I am very much in when it comes to breaking records. I get excited when I see personal records being kind of set and broken,” Tsitsipas said in his press conference.

“Of course it’s a great satisfaction to be seeing those stats, because there is so much work behind it, and sometimes it’s difficult to grasp the fact that it all happened so quickly.

“I just wish to keep on going. I wish to be healthy and to be fighting for more titles and breaking personal records but also records that haven’t been set before in tennis, like that serve thing that happened in Madrid was quite cool, actually. I never thought about it. It just happened.”

Tsitsipas will look to gain more Grand Slam wins in the future as he aims for a maiden Grand Slam title over the next two weeks.

The world number five also spoke about how tennis is a psychological sport and how important it is to perform well under pressure, “Well, it’s psychological, I believe, a big important part of the game,” Tsitsipas said.

“As I said, in the tiebreaker, my mind shifted. It changed towards something — well, I wasn’t aiming too much for being conservative, and that led me, that for sure I owe to that, that I was able to win a tiebreaker because of that.

“The psychological state that you’re in when you play is “the” most important thing, and this starts from outside of the court. If you’re able to be in peace and balance before you step on the court, that’s already a big
advantage that you have.

“Of course technical, these are minor things that you can always improve on and are much more controllable in a way and have external force too. But I think if you’re a player that can perform big on pressure moments, that is the thing that is going to just give you a good career in tennis.

“There are a few guys that can play good under pressure, especially in big, tight moments, and you have to have the mental strength of a Navy SEAL to pull it through, in a way. You have to have the physique of a marathon runner, the lungs of a marathon runner.

“You have to have the power of a football player, so back to the hard-work part, there is just so many little components that you have to link up in order to make this unbelievable player where you allow yourself to be unstoppable.”

This is a fascinating insight from Tsitsipas on the psychological work it takes to become a successful tennis player.

Now Tsitsipas looks to use these elements to his advantage as he looks to finally make his Grand Slam breakthrough in Paris.

The fifth seed’s Roland Garros charge will now continue on Friday where he plays Nuno Borges or Diego Schwartzman.

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