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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 16, 2023

Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner took out Taylor Fritz in three riveting sets to reach his first BNP Paribas Open semifinal.

Photo Source: Getty

With the flags above iconic Stadium 1 flapping in the breeze, defending champion Taylor Fritz did everything in his power to overcome the obstacles and the menacing Italian on the other side of the net during quarterfinal action on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open.

Tennis Express

He rallied from a set down against Jannik Sinner, and then in the third set, with the wind snaking, he rallied from a break down in the third. Next, he saved three break points to hold for 2-1, and another for 4-3. But in the end he couldn’t withstand the constant pressure from the Italian, and yielded in the ninth game before Sinner drove the final nail in the coffin, holding at love to lock down a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

Sinner becomes the first Italian to reach the semifinals in the BNP Paribas Open’s 47-year history, and will face either Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday with a spot in the final on the line.

Fritz couldn't hide his disappointment after the contest. The Southern California native began his rise up the rankings at Indian Wells, when he reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal in 2021. Last year he went on a run for the ages and defeated Rafael Nadal in the final for his biggest career title.

In total, Fritz has won 14 of his last 16 at the BNP Paribas Open.

"He was the better player and he played a lot of the situations in the match better than I did," Fritz said. "He deserves to win. I don't know, I guess it's a little bit easier to take a loss when you feel like the other person did, you know, did play well and did deserve it."

The American said that wind played a factor in the final set, and made it extremely tough to hit through the court on one side of the court.

Sinner agreed with his assessment.

"Both sides are tough to play, because on one side you have to make, especially when you have the wind against you, you have to make more first serves but trying to play still aggressive, maybe it's losing a little bit of timing and everything," Sinner said. "But if you play with wind, it's also tricky, because especially in the rally, you can lose it long. So it was tough. I changed a little bit the return position at some point, which helped me a little bit. But still, it was tough. I felt like I was playing very well today on both sides."

Sinner hit more winner than Fritz - 32 to 25 - and the pair each hit 17 unforced errors.

Conditions may have played a factor, but it didn't lessen the quality of the high octane affair.

"It was a tough match," Fritz said. "I found a way to get back in it and go into the third set, went down a break in the third and got it back. I don't know. I put myself in a decent chance to win the match, but in the end, I just couldn't make it happen."


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