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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday November 17, 2022

 
Taylor Fritz

Taylor Fritz took out Felix-Auger-Aliassime to reach the last four on his Nitto ATP Finals debut.

Photo Source: Getty

He didn’t officially qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals until Carlos Alcaraz was forced to pull out with an abdominal issue, but now that Taylor Fritz is in the field, he doesn’t want to go home.

Tennis Express

The American pushed past Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday evening in Turin, winning a battle of big servers with a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 triumph to set a semifinal clash with five-time champion Novak Dkokovic on Saturday.

“I needed to serve well the whole time,” Fritz said after notching his 45th victory of the season, and second in two contests against Auger-Aliassime. “It was one of those matches where I really just had to stay patient, not get too frustrated, and then just capitalize when I got the chances.”


The 25-year-old American, currently 8th in the ATP rankings, improves to 6-6 against the top-10 with his victory. He is making the most of his opportunity after qualifying as an alternate late in the season thanks to a title run at Tokyo in October and some other strong results in 2022, most notably the title at Indian Wells, where he defeated Rafael Nadal for his first Masters 1000 title.

On Thursday he won 49 of 56 first-serve points and saved all three break points he face. He also won 24 of 34 second-serve points across the two hour and 44-minute clash.

“It's huge,” he said. “To go from possibly not even qualifying to being in it, and now in the semis, it's great. I felt like I was gonna play well here. I feel like I always play my best tennis against the best players. I'm super happy to be moving on.”

Fritz will look to improve his 0-5 lifetime record against Djokovic on Saturday. He knows it will take an exceptional performance to make it happen.

“It goes without saying I have to serve really well,” he said. “Lucky for me, I have been feeling like the serve has been strong. I have to return well and when I get my opportunities I have to take them – I can't can't waste opportunities against someone like Novak.”

 

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