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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday January 22, 2022

:Taylor Fritz

Taylor Fritz reached the second week at a major for the first time with a five-set victory over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.

Photo Source: Getty

The signs have been there for a while. The hard work? He’s been doing it. And finally, Taylor Fritz had a Grand Slam moment to savor.

Tennis Express

The 24-year-old American, playing his 22nd Grand Slam main draw, notched his first trip to the second week at a major – he had lost all seven of third-round matches at Slams – by defeating No.15-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“I’ve been waiting so long to make a round of 16,” Fritz said on court after the match. “I was 0-7 before [in third rounds at majors], a lot of really, really tough draws – I’ve never really had a match I was supposed to win really to make it.

"Today was no different, another really tough opponent, to do it against someone who has basically been my dad in my professional career – he owns me. I said after the last match I felt confident going into this one, even with the head-to-head (5-1 in favor of Bautista Agut prior to the match), because I felt like I’m a different player and I thought I proved it today.”

Fritz, the highest-ranked American man and the 20th seed in Melbourne, played a high energy, high-risk match, racking up 19 aces and 73 winners to earn his second win in seven tries against the feisty Spaniard.

He is projected to make his Top-20 debut next week.

The forehand was the difference, and after the three hour and 14-minute triumph, Fritz talked about how the using the stroke as a weapon has enabled him to surge up the rankings in the last six months.

“Things have just been really clicking with my forehand,” the California native said. “I felt like that was my big weapon in the juniors and when I came onto the tour, and then I lost it a little bit and just played too conservative in my game for the last couple of years.

“It got me to where it got me but to really push that next level, the forehand has just been clicking for me, it’s become such a big weapon for me and I’m just playing so much more aggressive in the big moments.”

Asked what he would have to do in his next round against No.4-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, and generally in the future to make more deep runs like this, Fritz said:

“I have to keep being aggressive on my shots, go for them on the big points. … I am going to have to serve big and just use my weapons.”

Fritz has lost his two previous meetings to Tsitsipas, both in 2019.

On Saturday Tsitsipas defeated France’s Benoit Paire, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-4.


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