American Taylor Fritz continued his quest to repeat as champion at Indian Wells by winning his ninth consecutive BNP Paribas Open match on Tuesday, beating Martin Fucsovic 6-4, 6-3. With American Frances Tiafoe also winning his fourth-round match, it marks the first time multiple American men have reached the Indian Wells quarterfinals in the same year since 2008 when James Blake and Mardy Fish both advanced.
Fritz is aiming to become the first American to repeat as Indian Wells champion since Michael Chang in 1997, and he’s had a relatively easy go of it so far, only dropping one set back in his second-round matchup against up-and-coming American Ben Shelton.
Fellow American Frances Tiafoe is also in the next round after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Chilean Alejandro Tabilo. It was Tiafoe’s 150th career win on the ATP Tour and gets him into his first quarter-final appearance in Indian Wells.
While Fritz has been hot, Tiafoe has been hotter and has not dropped a set in his three matches so far. Of course, he’s had a much easier road due to upsets in his section of the draw.
Before beating 187th-ranked Tabilo, Tiafoe, who is the 14th seed in the tournament, beat 79th-ranked Australian Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-2 in the third round, and 73rd-ranked American Marcos Giron 6-2, 6-2 in his first match of the draw.
With Kubler having knocked out 20th-seed Gregor Dimitrov and Tabilo beating Jordan Thompson, who knocked out 2nd-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, the other players in the draw have been doing the hard work for Tiafoe, who has certainly taken advantage.
The performance has been a boon for the American, who is up to 14th in the world and could potentially crack the Top 10 for the first time if he reaches the championship since Indian Wells is an ATP Masters 1000 tournament that awards 600 standings points to the finalist.
However, the high point total at Indian Wells is also the same reason that so much pressure is on Taylor Fritz to repeat or at least advance to the finals himself. With Fritz having won the tournament last year, he is defending the 1000 standings points. Any result that falls short of winning will cost him points in the standings, which is why he has currently dropped down to 10th in the world ahead of his quarterfinal showdown with 11th-seed Jannik Sinner.
If Fritz wins that, he would have to face the winner of the match between top seed Carlos Alcaraz and 8th-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, so things will only get harder.
However, Auger-Aliassime almost didn’t make it as we were extremely close to having a third American male in the Indian Wells quarterfinals for the first time ever. Tommy Paul wasn’t able to complete his upset of Auger-Aliassime, falling in a third-set tiebreaker 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) in their fourth-round matchup.
There were plenty of moments where it seemed like Paul had the match wrapped up, including after he held serve for a 6-5 lead in the third set and then had a triple break point in the next game, which was thus a triple match point.
He lost all three as Auger-Aliassime rallied to five straight points, including an ace to win the game and send the set to a tiebreaker. In that tiebreaker, Paul took a commanding 6-3 lead, but again Auger-Aliassime won five straight points to secure the victory, leaving Paul to replay in his mind the six match points he let slip away.
Tiafoe defeated Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) while Fritz will face Sinner on Thursday at a time to be determined.
All Indian Wells matches can be watched on the Tennis Channel in the U.S. or streamed at tennistreams.com
Taylor Harry Fritz vs. Jannik Sinner odds
- Fritz to win: +105
- Sinner to win: -125
For more Tennis coverage, like this Fritz and Tiafoe article, visit amNY Sports
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