Taylor Fritz, the highest-ranked American men’s tennis player, reached the quarter-finals at Miami Open presented by Itau for the first time on Tuesday, beating 8th-ranked Holger Rune 6-3, 6-4.
The showdown between the two was the first battle between two top ten players at this year’s event and the first time ever that Taylor Fritz and Holger Rune had faced off. Earlier in the day, Jannik Sinner, who is the 10th seed at Miami but is ranked 11th in the world, beat 7th-ranked Andrey Rublev.
Fritz had never been beyond the fourth round in six previous appearances at the Miami Open, so it was a big win for him, especially after he dropped to 10th in the world after failing to defend his title at Indian Wells just last week.
Taylor Fritz used his power and consistency to top his Danish counterpart, cutting off angles and pushing Rune into the corners with well-placed shots from the baseline. He had 19 winners in the straight sets victory and has now won three straight-sets matches this week, also defeating Emilio Nava and Denis Shapovalov without dropping a set.
“I couldn’t play aggressively in my first two matches because my opponents were hitting every ball as hard as they could. [Rune] still crushes the ball but it was nice to feel I had some more time,” Fritz said after the match. “The first two rounds, it was impossible to play my game, I just had to make balls. Today when I got the chance to be aggressive I was and I just wanted to serve well and try not to give him many free points.”
Rune, who is ranked 8th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, won his first two matches in Miami against Marton Fucsovics and Diego Schwartzman. However, the three-time tour-level titlist struggled to find his best level in the big moments against Fritz, converting just one of his six break-point opportunities.
The win is the continuation of a solid year for Taylor Fritz, who is 20-5 in 2023, highlighted by his title run in Delray Beach. Fritz began the Miami Open ranked 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after losing in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells title to Jannik Sinner; a loss that dropped him from a career-high 5th earlier this month.
“I think my average level of tennis is a lot higher,” Fritz said. “I don’t need to always show up and play my best and if I don’t play my best, that level is higher than it used to be. I feel I can come through and win a lot of matches.”
The 25-year-old Fritz will climb as high as 6th if he wins the ATP Masters 1000 crown in Miami, but just reaching his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the year will be a tough task as he draws top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Taylor Fritz’s fellow American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round on Tuesday.
The loss by Paul marks another disappointing showing for American men. Even though Paul himself ran into a tough draw, fellow American Frances Tiafoe was easily ousted 6-3, 6-4 in the third round by 59th-ranked Lorenzo Sonego, who is just 5-8 in 2023 and 27-year-old MacKenzie McDonald followed up his impressive straight sets win over 23rd-ranked Matteo Berrettini by dropping his third round match to 79th-ranked Quentin Halys in straight sets. Halys is also just 5-8 to start 2023.
The last remaining American besides Taylor Fritz is 119th-ranked Christopher Eubanks, who beat 20th-ranked Borna Coric and now faces 62nd-ranked Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round later on Tuesday night.
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