Match Report

Fritz keeps composure to down Dimitrov in Rome

Tabilo backs up Djokovic win by beating Khachanov at Italian ATP Masters 1000
May 14, 2024
Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images
Taylor Fritz defeats Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. By ATP Staff

Taylor Fritz bounced back quickly from tie-break disappointment to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in an absorbing fourth-round clash Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The 11th-seeded American prevailed 6-2, 6-7(11), 6-1 against Dimitrov to reach the quarter-finals in Rome for the first time in five main-draw appearances. The key to his victory was the way he reacted to losing a remarkable second-set tie-break, during which he let slip one match point and saved nine Dimitrov set points before the Bulgarian finally levelled at one set-all after a Fritz double fault.

In the decider, Fritz kept up the high level he had shown in the first two sets, while Dimitrov struggled to maintain his rhythm on serve. The American broke in the second and fifth games en route to wrapping a two-hour, 42-minute victory.

“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,” said Fritz, when asked about the 24-point second-set tie-break. “I think it was tough because slowly the sun was moving the whole match, and right in the tie-breaker is the first time it was bad for me on that side. So I threw in the double fault.

“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 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.”

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Fritz finished the match having saved all 11 break points he faced, according to Infosys ATP Stats. The No. 13 in the PIF ATP Rankings also sent down 13 aces as he moved into a 2-1 Lexus ATP Head2Head lead against Dimitrov.

“Sometimes you have that feeling, that you feel very good and are cool under pressure, and sometimes you don’t," said Fritz, when asked about his prowess on important points against Dimitrov. "It comes and it goes, and today I felt very calm throughout the whole match. I genuinely just felt calm today.”

Now into his 50th tour-level quarter-final, Fritz will take on third seed Alexander Zverev, a 6-2, 7-5 winner against Nuno Borges, next at the Foro Italico. The 26-year-old is the first American to reach the last eight at three different clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events, having also made that stage at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (2022-23) and the Mutua Madrid Open (2024).

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Alejandro Tabilo also booked his quarter-final spot on Tuesday at the Foro Italico. The Chilean backed up his stunning third-round win against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic by edging Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 7-6(10). In doing so, he reached the last eight at a Masters 1000 event for the first time.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Tabilo. “It’s been a lot of hard work with the team, with ups and downs, and being able to be in my first [Masters 1000] quarter-final is an unreal feeling.

“With the win [against Djokovic] two days ago, it has been crazy. The first day I just tried to turn off my phone and be with my team, be with the people close to me. Now I’m just so happy I was able to refresh my mind, come out here, and try to play my tennis.”

The Chilean lefty had to fend off two Khachanov set points in the second-set tie-break before he completed the third Top 20 win of his career on his fifth match point. Tabilo, who is up four spots to No. 28 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings as a result of his Rome run so far, will next take on Zhang Zhizhen. The Chinese defeated Thiago Monteiro 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach his second Masters 1000 quarter-final.

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