Nakashima, Fritz Continue Historic Wimbledon For American Men
The 20-year-old backed up his second-round upset of 2021 semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov with a confident 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 against Daniel Elahi Galan. Nakashima had not won a match at the grass-court major prior to his first-round victory against Nicola Kuhn, but he is now the youngest American man to reach the Round of 16 at Wimbledon since Andy Roddick in 2003.
Nakashima joins Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. That represents the most American men in the last 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 1999, and the most to reach the fourth round at a major since the 2011 US Open.
"I think we're sending a message that we have a lot of depth and there's a lot of strong players that are coming up, constantly improving,” said No. 11 seed Fritz, when asked about the strong American showing after his third-round victory against Alex Molcan.
"I've said this before. I guess we don't necessarily have all the attention because we don't have a current Grand Slam champion, a current guy that's 1, 2, 3 in the world, but we've got six or seven guys that are in the Top 40 that are all young. Four guys in the Round of 16, and we could have more. We have a lot of depth and we have a lot of guys that are constantly getting better.”
Nakashima, who reached the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last November, is into the fourth round of a major for the first time. The World No. 56 won 84 per cent (43/51) of points behind his first delivery and faced just one break point in his maiden ATP Head2Head meeting with Galan.
Fritz equalled his best Grand Slam result in style with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3) triumph against Molcan. The 24-year-old's only previous run to the second week of a major was at January’s Australian Open.
The American No. 1 Fritz built up some form on the grass last week at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, where he lifted the title for the second time at the ATP 250 event without dropping serve. His delivery was tuned in once again against Molcan, as he fired 20 aces and won 86 per cent (50/58) of points behind his first serve to make it nine from nine sets won in his Wimbledon campaign.
“He [Molcan] didn't really get to play," said Fritz in his post-match press conference. "It was one of the best serving matches I've ever had. When I play like that, it frees up the rest of my game to just go after the ball, just play really confident tennis because I know I'm getting these free points on my serve.”
Fritz next faces Jason Kubler, after the Australian came through five-set tussle with Jack Sock to keep his dream run at the All England Lawn Tennis Club alive. In a clash between two 29-year-old qualifiers, it was Kubler who found something extra at the tail end of a four-hour, 15-minute epic. The World No. 99 broke in the first and ninth games of the deciding set to round out a 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory.
Former World No. 17 Garin broke the Brooksby serve six times in a two-hour, 51-minute encounter. The Chilean had suffered first-round defeats on the grass in Halle and Eastbourne prior to arriving at SW19, but he now meets Alex de Minaur in the last 16, after the Australian eased past British qualifier Liam Broady, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.