Fritz Claims Battle Of American Teens
Fritz posts straight-sets win over fellow 18-year-old American
Rising teenager Taylor Fritz has won his first match on home soil, defeating fellow American Memphis Open debutant Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round on Tuesday. The Californian, currently at No. 145 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, had extended countryman Jack Sock to five sets in the opening round of this year’s Australian Open, having won through three rounds of qualifying.
He continued his hard-court momentum against fellow 18-year-old, Mmoh, in Memphis. “Feels good, I played a really solid match all the way through. I’ve got to be happy with everything,” Fritz said. “Of course, the first one, always remember the first ATP win in the US.”
He sent down 10 aces and broke once in each set, while saving all three break points he faced against the Saudi Arabian-born qualifier, who was making his ATP World Tour main draw debut. A crucial break came at 2-2 in the second set. “That whole game I played three really good points and he gave me a double fault, but that was the kind of game you have to play at this level to get a break,” he said.
And for all the hype over the next wave of American hopefuls, Fritz admitted he hadn’t played the likes of Mmoh, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul or Jared Donaldson as often as many would expect in the juniors.
“Honestly, only played him [Mmoh] once,” he said of his opponent on Tuesday. “I was always playing a level lower. Michael said the same thing. I used to not be that good. I used to not be at the level of Michael and Frances and those guys.
“We’ve only really been playing the same events for two years so in that time I’ve got to see how far I’ve come.” Fritz will meet second seed, another American, Steve Johnson next.
Australian No. 7 seed John Millman, coming off his first ATP World Tour quarter-final in Montpellier last week, scored a narrow 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5 win over American Austin Krajicek. Both sent down 11 aces in the two-hour, 42-minute match but it was the 26-year-old Queenslander who had more success on the break points, converting on four of 12 opportunities.
Millman's countryman, Matt Ebden, was not so fortunate. Ebden was forced to retire while trailing Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 1-6, 0-3. Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis ground out a 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-5 win over Israeli Dudi Sela, while Spaniard Marcel Granollers had a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 result against Portugal’s Malek Jaziri.
In doubles action, three-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan suffered a surprise defeat to fellow Americans Austin Kraijcek and Nicholas Monroe 1-6, 7-6(5), [12-10]. The top seeds had won their first doubles title together at Memphis in 2001 and titled again in 2004 and 2013 but fell in a match tiebreak to the unseeded pairing. American fourth seeds Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey had a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Australian Sam Groth, while the American wild card duo of Fritz and Ryan Harrison stunned No. 2 seeds Treat Huey, of the Philippines, and Belarusian Max Mirnyi, 7-6(3), 6-4.