Five months after Taylor Fritz‘s coming out party at Indian Wells, the No. 2 American has commenced another soiree in the California desert. Fritz, ranked 20 and seeded 20 this year, sauntered past Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, 6-1, 6-1, to book his place in the third round for the second consecutive year.
Last year Fritz took his talents to the semifinals, saving two match points to lock down his biggest career win against Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. It was a momentous occasion for Fritz, family and Co., many of whom were in attendance in Stadium 1 to witness a triumph that one day could be considered a seminal moment in a distinguished career.
“My parents are here, brother, friends come out,” Fritz said last October. “I think it definitely [it] maybe pumps me up a little bit more. More than anything it’s the home crowd, this being a special event for me.”
The calendar has ticked on but the vibe feels very much the same for Fritz. The 24-year-old exuded positive energy as he confidently blasted his way into round three, where a showdown with either Pablo Carreno Busta or Jaume Munar awaits.
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Fritz has designs on the top-10 now, but to do it he’ll have to keep the party rolling in California.
“I’m the kind of person that if I do something once, I expect myself to do it again; it should be easier to do it again,” he told ATPTour.com this week at Indian Wells. “If I made the semis last year then obviously I want to make the semis this year, but that’s very tough.”
Berrettini on the Cusp of a Breakthrough
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, the No.6 seed, faced adversity early and often on Sunday but was able to emerge with a win over 18-year-old Holger Rune, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. The Italian, who has never reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells, sets a third-round clash with 30th-seeded Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
Berrettini came away impressed with the Danish teen.
“It was definitely a tough match, I expected it,” said Berrettini. “He’s improving every time I see him, he’s playing better. For sure I think he’s going to have a bright future.”
The Italian hopes that this is the year that things click for him in California.
“I’m really happy because I wasn’t feeling that comfortable on the court – it was an important win,” Berrettini said after improving 2-3 lifetime at Indian Wells. “I think it just takes time. I didn’t play this tournament so many times, so sometimes it takes time and a little bit of luck, hopefully this one is going to be the good one.”
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Paul Topples No.3-Seeded Zverev
For the second consecutive year, American Tommy Paul has notched a colossal upset at Indian Wells. Last year the American took out Andrey Rublev, then ranked No.5, for his first career top-5 win. Sunday night on Stadium 1 Paul knocked off third-seeded Alexander Zverev for his biggest career win by ranking.
The American rallied from 4-2 down in the third set before racing through a tiebreak to claim his spot in the third-round. He is one of seven Americans to reach the last 32 at Indian Wells, and will face Alex de Minaur next.
Murray Ousted By Rising Bublik, Auger-Aliassime Knocked Out
Alexander Bublik has been riding the hot hand in 2022, riding into the California desert on the heels of back-to-back top-10 wins. A quintessential shotmaker, Bublik has always had a flair for the dramatic, but as he matures the 24-year-old is developing a knack for grinding big wins against the ATP’s elite.
He demonstrated that proficiency in spades on Sunday as he pushed past crowd favorite Andy Murray, 7-6(9), 6-3. Bublik took charge of the contest by saving three set points in a 16-minute tiebreak in the opening set. He then moved ahead 4-1 in the second set and held serve the rest of the way to reach the third round.
Bublik saved all six break points he faced in the contest.
Murray has a lot to celebrate despite the loss. On Friday he became the fourth active player to earn his 700th career win, and the 18th in ATP history. He felt he had his opportunities against Bublik, but couldn’t convert in the big moments.
“I had all of the opportunities really in the first set,” he said. “Obviously a tiebreak. Both of us had some chances there, but in the first set I certainly created more of the opportunities and I didn’t take them.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime came to Indian Wells with high hopes, but the No.9 seed saw those hopes dashed by Botic Van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-3. Auger-Aliassime saved three match points to escape the second set but it was the Dutchman who delivered in the clutch in set three to earn his first career win at Indian Wells.
Rublev’s 200th Career Win
Andrey Rublev and the weather in the Coachella Valley have something in common: both are on the rise and getting warmer. As temperatures cracked 80 degrees on a balmy Sunday afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the No.7-seed continued his torrid tennis, pushing past Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, 7-5, 6-4, for his tenth consecutive victory.
This year’s Marseille and Dubai champion is one of two ATP players to have won multiple titles in 2022 – the other is three-time champion Rafael Nadal.
Rublev improves to 15-2 on the season and will face either Brandon Nakashima or Frances Tiafoe in the third round, as he tries to reach the round of 16 at Indian Wells for the first time in his fourth career appearance.
Rublev cracked 33 winners to just 16 or Koepfer, and saved five of six break points, including three while serving out the match at 5-4 in the second set.
The 24-year-old notched his 200th career ATP win in the process, stretching his career record to 200-114. He is 109-35 since the start of 2022, with eight titles.
Johnson and Isner Advance
The good vibes continue for the American men, as John Isner and Steve Johnson joined Fritz in Sunday’s winner circle. Isner took out Sam Querrey in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6(6), 7-6(2), while Johnson pulled the upset against 22nd-seeded Aslan Karatsev, 7-6(5), 6-4.