Match Report

Fritz Fends Off Foki In Paris, Keeps Turin Hopes Alive

Isner, Musetti, Norrie also advance
October 31, 2022
Taylor Fritz defeats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for the first time in three tour-level meetings between the pair on Monday at the Rolex Paris Masters. By ATP Staff

Taylor Fritz dug deep to overcome a typically resilient Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Monday in a Rolex Paris Masters first-round clash that carried extra meaning for the American.

Fritz trailed by a break in the first set and let slip a 2-0 lead in the second as Davidovich Fokina threatened an early upset against the 2021 quarter-finalist at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The ninth seed raised his level at key moments to resist the Spaniard’s charge, however, converting five of 10 break points to clinch a 7-5, 6-2 victory in 90 minutes on Court Central.

“[I’m] really happy, he’s a tough person to play against,” said Fritz after the match. “He’s got weapons on both sides. He’s extremely quick as well, so there’s nowhere you can really play with a lot of safety. He makes a lot of crazy shots and he’s beaten me the past two times, so definitely good to just get out there, play a solid match, and get through it.”

With the win, Fritz kept alive his hopes of qualifying for November’s Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The 25-year-old is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and he must reach the championship match in Paris to have a chance of leapfrogging Felix Auger-Aliassime or Andrey Rublev into a qualification spot for the season finale.

Although Fritz hit just 11 winners to Davidovich Fokina’s 20 in Monday’s encounter, Tennis Data Innovation’s INSIGHTS In Attack analysis for the match shows that the American was more often on the front foot than his opponent. Fritz played 28 per cent of his shots from attacking positions, five per cent more than the ATP Tour average.

<a href=''>Taylor Fritz</a> Vs. <a href=''>Alejandro Davidovich Fokina</a>: INSIGHTS In Attack
INSIGHTS In Attack for Taylor Fritz Vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Fritz's Turin rival Auger-Aliassime is a potential third-round opponent for the American in Paris, but he will next turn his attention to a second-round clash against 2016 champion Andy Murray or home favourite Gilles Simon.

“Right now I’m just focused on kind of playing myself into the tournament,” said Fritz. “I feel like any time this year that I’ve won a couple of matches into a tournament, then I’ve done well. So I’ll just try to focus on these early rounds.

“Turin is still in the picture, obviously, but there’s not much else I really could have done. I won Tokyo… Felix has played really, really well, so he deserves it, but I am going to try to steal his spot this week for sure.“

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Fritz’s countryman John Isner, a 2016 finalist in Paris, will take on Rublev in the second round after prevailing 6-4, 7-6(3) against Oscar Otte on Monday. Isner fired 19 aces during his 82-minute victory to improve his career record at Paris-Bercy to 18-11.

Lorenzo Musetti continued his good hard-court form with an impressive 6-4, 6-4 win against 15th seed Marin Cilic. Musetti, who reached at least the semi-finals in three of his past four tournaments prior to Paris, converted both break point opportunities he had in an 83-minute win. The Italian will next take on Nikoloz Basilashvili, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against home qualifier Quentin Halys.

Briton Cameron Norrie also enjoyed a comfortable first-round win. The 12th seed defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4 to reach the second round in Paris for the second time.

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