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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday October 16, 2021

 
Nikoloz Basilashvili

Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili saved all seven break points he faced to top Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells.

Photo Source: Getty

Nikoloz Basilashvili got the best of Taylor Fritz in a hard-hitting battle of first-time Masters 1000 semi-finalists, with the Georgian putting on a power tennis clinic and saving all seven break points he faced as he claimed a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory on Saturday evening at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Tennis Express

Basilashvili, ranked 36 and seeded 29, had never won a main draw match at the BNP Paribas Open before. He will face Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who took out Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in Saturday’s first men’s singles semifinal, in Sunday’s final.

Without Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in attendance at Indian Wells this year, the draw has been wide open. For the first time in Masters 1000 history, a span covering 280 tournaments, all four singles semifinalists were ranked outside of the ATP’s Top-25.

The contest with Fritz was much closer than the scoreline, but the Georgian held his nerve to hold his serve, saving break points with big, bold shotmaking and taking advantage of Fritz’s one letdown on serve to claim the only break of the match.


Fritz’, who defeated Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev in successive matches to reach his first Masters semifinal, said there wasn’t much he could do to derail Basilashvili.

“It was really tough because I wanted to come out and play aggressive and attack, but I just really felt like I couldn't get many chances to,” he said. “I think all the chances I got to be aggressive were off of my serve. I'd serve and maybe he wouldn't be able to crush the return, then I could actually attack. Other than that, I just felt like it was incredibly tough for me to ever get an opportunity to go big.”

Norrie and Basilashvili have met once previously, with the Brit winning 6-0, 6-3 in the round of 32 at Rotterdam. The matchup pits a classic defender and counter puncher in Norrie, against one of tennis’ premier ball-strikers in Basilashvili.

Norrie will have to find ways to take Basilashvili out of his comfort zone, which is something that he has done all season as he has racked up 46 wins and won his last six semifinals.

On Saturday he tied Grigor Dimitrov in knows for the biggest win of his career. If he can do more of the same on Sunday, he could become Great Britain’s first men’s singles champion at Indian Wells.

Basilashvili is Georgia's first ever Masters 1000 finalist.


 

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