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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday February 19, 2024

Taylor Fritz

Taylor Fritz battled past Tommy Paul for his seventh career title, and sixth since 2022, on Monday at Delray Beach.

Photo Source: TTV

He came, he saw, he waited an extra day due to rain and he conquered – again.

Taylor Fritz defeated Tommy Paul in an all-American final that was played on Monday, 6-2, 6-3, to become the first back–to-back champion at the Delray Beach Open since 1997.

Tennis Express

Fritz claimed his seventh career title and stretched his winning streak in ATP finals to six since the start of the 2022 season (7-5 overall).

It was a hard-fought battle played in gusty residual wind from the storm that postponed the final on Sunday. The conditions were playable, but forced both players to alter their tactics and play to bigger targets.

Ultimately it was top-seeded Fritz who stood tall on the biggest moments, as the American saved all seven break points he faced and snapped Paul’s seven-match winning streak with a gritty effort in all facets of the game.

“I had a long list of things I needed to do well, but I think a lot of it went out the window when we realized that the conditions for the match were going to be so windy,” Fritz told tournament emcee Blair Henley on court after the win.

“Just limited with the wind. I tried to serve as well as I could, and it got me out of some trouble, but it’s incredibly tough to play, and do what you want to do when it’s windy like this, but I did win the big points and that was the difference maker.”

Paul had chances in both sets, but was unable to capitalize on his break chances, and that played the largest role in Fritz’s success.

The third seed had three break points with Fritz serving at 4-2, 0-40 in the opening set but they went by the wayside and Paul was broken for the set in the next game.

In the second set a pivotal seven-deuce game went to Fritz at 3-3 and the American quickly capitalized on his momentum with a break for 5-3 in the next game.

He served out the match at love, closing the contest in one hour and 40 minutes to improve to 3-2 lifetime against Paul at the ATP level and 10-2 on the season.

Fritz was pleased to be back in top physical form after dealing with some ailments coming out of the Australian Open.

“There were some questions about how I was physically feeling,” said Fritz. “I didn’t play one of the rubbers at Davis Cup, I wasn’t feeling amazing after Australia, so it’s great to come here and feel like I am moving [well] and that physically I am definitely there.

“Mentally it was tough conditions, especially today. I kind of just powered through it, all the pressure was on me, defending the title and I was able to get through it.”

Paul, last week’s Dallas champion, drops to 10-3 on the season, and 2-3 in ATP finals.

Overall the Delray Beach Open was a great event for the American men. The semifinals were an all-American affair for the first time in tournament history and just the fourth time on the ATP Tour since 2000.

Fritz became the fifth player in tournament history to win multiple titles, and just the second man to defend the trophy.


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