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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 2, 2023

Taylor Fritz

Taylor Fritz fought off Frances Tiafoe for the sixth consecutive time to book his spot in the last four in Acapulco.

Photo Source: Getty

Taylor Fritz took his place as the first American man inside the Top 5 since 2009 this week, and he has looked the part, coming through wins over John Isner, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe to reach the semifinals. The 25-year-old American edged his friend and rival Tiafoe, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night at the Abierto Telcel in Acapulco to set a semifinal with compatriot Tommy Paul.

Tennis Express

Fritz has now won six straight against Tiafoe (currently ranked 15) after losing the pair’s first tour-level meeting at Indian Wells, nearly seven years ago. Back then Fritz and Tiafoe were the two youngest ATP players inside the top 200. Today they are both card carrying members of the Top 20 with designs on winning Grand Slam titles.

On Thursday Fritz showed that he is the top dog among the American contingent with a strong, steady effort against his fellow 25-year-old. The Southern California native took the initiative from the start, breaking in the fourth game, and didn’t give Tiafoe much to work with in his service games.

When Tiafoe did earn opportunities, impressively Fritz was there to close the door. He saved a break point in the fifth game of the opening set and didn’t face another as he served out the set two games later.

In the second set, with Tiafoe raising his level and threatening to rally after Fritz had jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Fritz saved three more break points – one in the fourth game and another two in the sixth game.

Tiafoe, who closed out a hold with an underarm serve in the seventh game, saved a match point while serving at 5-3, but Fritz never budged. He closed out the match with a hold to 15, converting his second match point to close the contest in 95 minutes.

"I'm happy with how I played the big points," said Fritz after a win that saw him win 21 of 32 second-serve points (he made only 50 percent of his first serves). "It's really easy to get frustrated with myself when I'm missing every first serve… I kind of just fought it out, accepted that I'm going to have to play and grind out all these points and I wasn't going to be getting the amount of free points that I'm used to getting. I'm pretty proud of how I competed through a lot of those long games on my serve."

Paul hammered past Mackenzie McDonald in the first quarterfinal of the day, 6-2 6-2. Fritz leads the pair’s head to head 2-1.

Alex de Minaur topped Taro Daniel 6-2 6-2, while Holger Rune won all seven games he played against Matteo Berrettini, the Italian retiring due to injury or illness trailing 6-0, 1-0.


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