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By Richard Pagliaro | @TennisNow | Monday, July 8, 2024

 
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Taylor Fritz fought back from a two-set stunning French Open finalist Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 rallying into the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport

Wimbledon—Facing a dire deficit, Taylor Fritz delivered his most dynamic tennis of the tournament.

A free-flowing Fritz fought back from a two-set stunning French Open finalist Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 rallying into his second Wimbledon quarterfinal.

In a clash of former junior world No. 1 players, Fritz fought into his fourth career Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“I can say kind of sticking with it from two sets down. I feel like I'm always going to do that, especially when I feel like I was playing good tennis,” Fritz told the mediat at Wimbledon. “I think what I was the most pleased about was my game from the ground, like backhand, forehand.

"Once we got into the rallies, I felt like I was playing about as good as I could play.”



The 13th-seeded Fritz will face first-time major quarterfinalist Lorenzo Musetti for a semifinal spot.

Earlier, Musetti defeated tournament ace leader Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 on No. 2 court. Musetti joined compatriot and world No. 1 Jannik Sinner as the second Italian man to reach the last eight at The Championships—marking the first time in history two Italian men have reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Overall, Fritz has won two of three meetings vs. Musetti, including a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win in the 2022 Wimbledon first round.

“The key is always going to be serving well and returning well. I feel like if I do those two things well, then I like my chances,” Fritz said. “Luckily for me, it should hypothetically be easier to return serve than it was today in the next match.

“But yeah, [Musetti is] tricky. He's been playing well. He made the finals of Queen's. This will be my first quarterfinal where I'm the more experienced person in slam quarterfinals, having played Novak twice and Rafa once. Hopefully that will help me a little bit. But I know I'm going to have to play well.”

Facing one of the game’s premier servers in Zverev, Fritz did not press the panic button. Instead, an inspired Fritz attacked his shots with more menace in the deciding set, improving his five-set record to 11-10.

It’s a sizable step forward for Fritz, who was 0-9 lifetime vs. Top 5 players in Grand Slam play and scored his first major win over a Top-5 win today.

Zverev played well, but was hampered by that knee issue lost a bit of his edge in the decider squandering a lead for the third Slam of the season.

At the Australian Open last January, Zverev defeated Carlos Alcaraz then built a two-set lead over Daniil Medvedev only to bow in a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-7(5), 3-6 semifinal loss.

The man who squandered a two-set lead to Dominic Thiem in the 2020 US Open final reached the Roland Garros final last month and built a two-sets to one lead before Carlos Alcaraz won 12 of the last 15 games to stop Zverev and capture his maiden French Open title.

Afterward, Zverev, who was wearing a gray sleeve to protect a bone bruise in his left knee, credited Fritz for his comeback but noted “I was on one leg.”

“First, obviously great that he came from two sets to love down. Respect.” Zverev told the media at Wimbledon. “I was on one leg today. He is playing great. I think he is also going to be in the semifinals of Wimbledon. I do expect him to win in the quarters. But also I do know that the match was not high level.

“I mean, it wasn't a particularly great tennis match. It was, like, there wasn't really long rallies because I couldn't play long rallies. There wasn't really physicality. Again, it was all coming from me. I just couldn't do that. So I knew, yeah, credit to him that he came back, but it wasn't a great tennis match, you know?”

Today, Fritz guarded his serve with vigilance and grew stronger as the match progressed. After dropping serve in the ninth game of the opening set, Fritz faced only one break point the rest of the match.

Fritz withstood 19 aces from Zverev responding with 15 aces against no double faults. Fritz backed up his second serve effectively, winning 69 percent of his second-serve points.

The match concluded with an extended conversation between the pair.

Afterward, Zverev said he was annoyed by “ a bit over the top” cheering from Fritz’s back—interpreted by some to be a shot at Morgan Riddle, Fritz’s girlfriend—after the German said his comments were not directed at the American’s coach, Michael Russell.



“I think it was fairly obvious that I wasn't 100% today, right? I wasn't moving really the entire match,” Zverev said. “I wasn't running for dropshots. If I was running for a dropshot, I was limping there more than running. Towards the end, I mean, I thought from the fourth and fifth set, I was really struggling to serve, as well, to jump off on my leg, to create some power.

“His team is extremely respectful. I think his coach, his physio, also his second coach, they're extremely respectful. I think there's some other people that maybe are in the box that are not maybe from the tennis world, that are not maybe from particularly watching every single match. They were a bit over the top. That's okay. No issues. No drama. He fought back from two sets to love, so they're obviously all excited, very pumped up, yeah. But no issues with Taylor. I think Taylor is a great guy. I have absolutely no issues with him.”


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Morgan Riddle (@moorrgs)



Asked about the conversation at net, Fritz said it was “all good” and downplayed any contentious issues between the pair.

“I think he felt that he was for parts, I guess towards the end of the fifth at least, kind of limping around a bit. I think he was annoyed at some people in my box just being loud, cheering for me,” Fritz said. “Honestly, I can't hear. I don't know. Like, no big deal. He said it's nothing towards me or anything like that.

"I mean, as far as his injury, like, I don't know. I thought the match seemed extremely normal until I was up the break in the fifth, then I feel like that's when I felt like he was limping and moving.



“I don't know. I can't speak to the seriousness of the injury. I tried to play the match extremely straight up. I hyperextended my knee pretty bad before. For me, it's different for everyone, but when I did it, I was a little sore, felt like my knee was stretched out, but I played normally, pretty normally, the following days.

"Going into it, I was just trying to I guess approach the match as if he's healthy. Again, I can't speak for how healthy he is or not. Yeah, that's what we talked about at the net.”

 

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