Taylor Fritz beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-2 as the pair played for a semi-final spot at their debut Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Fritz won the two-hour, 44-minute clash that required two tie-breaks before Auger-Aliassime’s steam ran out in the final set, which allowed Fritz to capitalise and book his place in the last four.
The duo entered the match holding a 1-1 record in Green Group and eyed up the chance to join Casper Ruud and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
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Fritz enjoyed an aggressive game in front of a lively Turin crowd and had the upper hand in the high-pressure moments that ultimately helped him come out on top.
“I needed to serve well the whole time, I knew that,” Fritz said. “It was frustrating throughout the match when so many points I was one away from break point. So many times at 15/30, 0/30 when I was returning, I got myself in the points and kept losing the points.
“I just tried to stay patient and not get frustrated and then I capitalised when I got the chances.”
It was Fritz and Auger-Aliassime’s second meeting this year, where Fritz had previously come from a set down to win 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4.
Once more, the pair slugged it out in the opening set, and astonishingly not a single deuce game was played in the opening 51 minutes as they went to a tie-break.
Fritz capitalised on a string of unforced errors from the 22-year-old to take the opening set after an hour and put himself within one set of the semi-finals.
After both men traded holds in the second set until they were forced into a second tie-break, Fritz led 4-2 in a repeat of the opener, but this time the Canadian fought back and found enough momentum to turn the set on its head to set-up a decider.
No. 8 seed Fritz hit 32 winners, outlasted his opponent in the heavy-hitting exchanges, and gained the crucial break in the decider to wrap up the win.
Fritz’s service game was strong throughout the match, which helped him dominate the court in the fast, indoor conditions.
He sealed victory with his first match point after he saved all three break points he faced before, expressing his delight to advance to the next round.
“It is huge,” he said when asked about reaching the semi-finals. “From possibly not even qualifying to now be in the semis feels great.
“I felt like I was going to play well here. I feel that I always play my best tennis against the best players.”
Fritz will meet Djokovic on Saturday after he was drafted in for the injured Carlos Alcaraz.
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