Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz score major upsets in Rome

League: Tennis

Posted on: 14 May, 2024 at 11:36 PM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was a banner day for Americans at Foro Italico, as both Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz posted big upsets to reach the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday in Rome.

The 14th-seeded Paul took down No. 2 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-1, 6-4. Fritz, the No. 11 seed, outlasted eighth seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-7 (11), 6-1 in two hours and 42 minutes.

Paul lost serve in the opening game of his match, then promptly ran off six games in a row to put Medvedev on his heels.

Paul finished with an 18-9 edge in winners and saved three of five break points while going 5-for-6 breaking Medvedev's serve.

"I think it was a pretty clean match for me, other than maybe the first or second game in both sets," Paul said. "I played some really good tennis. I played pretty aggressive, that was the game plan coming in."

Paul, who reached the semifinals at Indian Wells earlier this year, has yet to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title. His next opponent will be No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, who rallied past No. 17 seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Fritz had a chance to beat Dimitrov in straight sets when he took an 8-7 lead during the second-set tiebreaker. Dimitrov saved the point, going on to win the set on his eighth try.

But Fritz took over in the third set, hitting four of his 13 aces and winning 16 of 17 service points overall.

"To be honest, I feel like normally in those situations, I'd be a lot more uptight and nervy, but honestly I felt pretty calm ..." Fritz said of the tiebreaker. "I had a really good opportunity on a second serve (return), match point, and he hit it into my body and a bit slower than the other ones. I just caught it a bit early trying to get out of the way of it.

"It's easy to go back and dwell on that the whole third set, but I did a really good job at just putting it behind me and not thinking about that second serve return."

Fritz now must face the highest-seeded player remaining, No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany, who eased past Portugal's Nuno Borges 6-2, 7-5.

Greek No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past No. 9 Alex de Minaur of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in an hour flat.

"I really felt that my opponent felt the heaviness and the depth of my ball," Tsitsipas said of the rout. "It gave me courage, it gave me great belief in myself that I can continue pushing in that sense. I knew that I had something good working for me today."

Tsitsipas' quarterfinal opponent is No. 21 seed Nicolas Jarry of Chile, who beat French qualifier Alexandre Muller 7-5, 6-3.

Jarry's countryman, No. 29 seed Alejandro Tabilo, also advanced with a tough 7-6 (5), 7-6 (10) win over 16th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia. Tabilo will take on China's Zhizhen Zhang, a 7-6 (4), 6-3 winner over Brazil's Thiago Monteiro.

--Field Level Media