Fritz Dethrones Fognini In Los Cabos
Fifth seed Taylor Fritz continued his red-hot form on Thursday at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex. The American ensured there will be a new winner in Los Cabos after defeating top seed and defending champion Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-1, 7-6(1).
“I think I’m playing my best tennis. I’ve found a level of consistency where it’s still pretty high even when I’m not playing my best,” said Fritz. “This is what I train for. All the stuff I do in the gym and on the practice court is way harder than anything that could be replicated in a match.”
Fritz raced through the first five games of the match and Fognini received strapping to his left foot and ankle after the opening set. Both players held serve throughout the second set to force a tie-break, but the fifth seed won seven straight points to clinch his second Top 10 win of the year. Fritz evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Fognini at 1-1.
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The American has won 12 of his past 14 matches. He earned his first ATP Tour title in June at the Nature Valley International (d. Querrey) and finished runner-up last week at the BB&T Atlanta Open (l. to de Minaur). His outstanding results have put him at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 28, which is set to climb even higher when the newest standings are released on Monday.
Awaiting Fritz in the semi-finals is seventh seed Radu Albot, who powered past Aussie wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-3 for a career-high 25th tour-level win of the season. Albot clinched his first ATP Tour title this February in Delray Beach by saving three championship points to topple Daniel Evans.
Second-seeded Argentine Guido Pella withstood a stern test from South Korean qualifier Soonwoo Kwon to advance 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. The 21-year-old Kwon, competing in his first ATP Tour quarter-final, was not overwhelmed and mixed aggressive forehands with timely trips to the net. But Pella settled in and broke serve twice in each of the last two sets to advance in two hours and three minutes.
Pella is through to his fourth ATP Tour semi-final of the year. He captured his maiden ATP Tour crown this March in Sao Paulo (d. Garin) and reached a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 21 in May.
Next up for Pella is third seed and fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had few problems in dispatching eighth-seeded Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-2. Schwartzman has been in top form this week, dropping only eight games to reach the last four. He seeks his first ATP Tour title of the year after finishing runner-up in February in Buenos Aires (l. to Cecchinato).
Pella leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Schwartzman 2-1 and won their most recent clash this February in Cordoba, but this will be their first hard-court meeting.