Match Report

American exodus in Miami: Fritz, Paul, Tiafoe out!

Eubanks get a W for home players late in the day
March 23, 2024
Tommy Paul in action on Saturday in Miami, where he was later forced to retire.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Tommy Paul in action on Saturday in Miami, where he was later forced to retire. By ATP Staff

Thiago Seyboth Wild capped a rough afternoon for home favourites on Saturday at the Miami Open presented by Itau, where he downed American No. 1 Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-4 at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

The No. 76 in the PIF ATP Rankings, Seyboth Wild delivered a stunning serving performance to upset the 12th-seeded Fritz inside Hard Rock Stadium. The 24-year-old qualifier dropped just nine points on serve in the match as he completed a 71-minute triumph to reach the third round in Miami for the first time.

“I played a really solid match today, I barely missed,” said Seyboth Wild after his win. “It was exactly the plan with my coach before the match. I held up pretty well on the backhand and used my forehand to win the match.”

The way Seyboth Wild kept his cool to close out the match after breaking in the opening game of the second set was particularly impressive, and he finished the match having won 96 per cent (23/24) of points behind his first delivery, according to Infosys ATP Stats. With his fourth Top 20 win, the Brazilian snapped Fritz’s 10-match winning streak in opening-round matches on home soil, a record that dated back to the beginning of 2023.

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Seyboth Wild, who previously upset Daniil Medvedev at Roland Garros in 2023, is now 7-9 for 2024, a tally which includes a quarter-final run at home in Rio de Janiero. He will next play Chilean 22nd seed Nicolas Jarry, who saved two match points before rallying to an epic 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(2) win against Jack Draper across three hours and 35 minutes.

Fritz’s loss came shortly after 13th seed Tommy Paul was forced to retire from his second-round clash with another American, wild card Martin Damm.

Paul led wild card Damm 6-4, 1-2 on Court 7 when he pulled up suddenly while approaching the net. The 13th seed hunched down on the ground clutching his left leg for a minute, appearing in considerable pain, before hobbling to his chair and ultimately retiring. The timing of his injury was a cruel blow for Paul, who had started his Miami campaign brightly as he looked to back up his semi-final run in Indian Wells.

The 20-year-old Damm, who defeated Zhang Zhizhen on his tour-level debut on Wednesday, is up 30 spots to No. 174 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings as a result of his Miami run so far. His next opponent at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Florida will be Christopher O’Connell. The Australian also progressed at the expense of an American seed by beating Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6(5).

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O’Connell hit 28 winners in his win and has now reached the second round or better at six consecutive tour-level events. Defeat leaves Tiafoe with a 7-7 record for the year after he picked up just one win across the ‘Sunshine Double’ events of Indian Wells and Miami.

In better news for Americans, Christopher Eubanks advanced to a third-round meeting with Alexander Zverev after saving two match points to defeat Brit Daniel Evans 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(7). Eubanks saved consecutive match points in the third-set tie-break at 4/6, the second with an ace, and then capitalised after Evans double faulted at 7/7.

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