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Japanese Wild Card Mochizuki Stuns Fritz In Tokyo

20-year-old next plays Popyrin
October 19, 2023
Shintaro Mochizuki celebrates the biggest win of his career on Thursday in Tokyo. By ATP Staff

Japanese wild card Shintaro Mochizuki continued his dream run at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships on Thursday when he stunned World No. 10 Taylor Fritz 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) to reach the quarter-finals.

The 20-year-old rallied from 2-5 in the third set, breaking Fritz’s serve to love when the American was trying to close out. Roared on by vocal home support, Mochizuki then raced to a 3/0 lead in the tie-break before sealing victory on his first match point after two hours and three minutes.

"I don't really know what is happening right now," Mochizuki said. "I lost the first set so easy, so quick. Everyone knows he is a great player but I kept fighting and that is all I could do. I am so happy. I don't know how, but I won the match.

"I was a bit nervous at the start, not swinging. I was scared to miss. Then I tried to forget about everything and just started playing my game from the second set and that is how it went."

The Japanese star, who earned his maiden tour-level win in the first round against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, is the second Japanese player to defeat a Top 10 player this year. Taro Daniel beat then-World No. 4 Casper Ruud in Acapulco.

Filled with emotion, Mochizuki took in the support of the crowd following his stunning win against Fritz. He will next play Alexei Popyrin after the Australian overcame Cristian Garin. Earlier this year Mochizuki won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Barletta, Italy. He is up 47 places to No. 168 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, while he is 22nd in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah.

Fritz is currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, 145 points behind eighth-placed Holger Rune, who occupies the final qualification spot. Alex de Minaur (13th) and Tommy Paul (12th), can both overtake Fritz with title runs in Tokyo.

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