Paul Digs Deep To Upset Sinner In Eastbourne
For the second straight week, Tommy Paul has defeated a seeded player en route to an ATP Tour grass-court quarter-final. After defeating Denis Shapovalov and Stan Wawrinka to reach that stage at the Cinch Championships, he battled past second seed Jannik Sinner on Wednesday at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne.
The American's 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory denied Sinner his first career tour-level victory on the grass. The Italian was playing in his first match since retiring midway through his Roland Garros fourth-round matchup against Andrey Rublev with a knee injury.
"I'm pumped to be on the grass right now," Paul said post-match. "Honestly, I think it suits my game."
One break decided each set, with the American erasing three break points in the opening game of the decider for a crucial hold. He did not face another break point in the match, and used strong returning and consistent, deep hitting to bring up a chance to serve out the match at 5-3.
"I came out strong and focussed from the beginning of the match," Paul assessed. "He got a good break on me in the second set and that's what took us to the third. That's what it was, just some small points here and there."
It was the pair's second ATP Head2Head meeting, with their previous encounter coming last month at the Mutua Madrid Open, a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3 win for Sinner.
"I knew it was going to be a battle with Jannik," Paul said. "We only played one time before, but it was a war. You're never going to have an easy match against a guy like that."
He will seek his first victory against Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals. The Aussie won a pair of tight two-set contests against him at the ATP Masters 1000s in Indian Wells and Rome this season.
Joining Paul in the quarter-finals is his countryman Taylor Fritz, with whom he teamed to reach the doubles semi-finals last week at The Queen's Club. The Eastbourne third seed scored a 7-5, 6-3 decision against Thiago Monteiro.
The reigning Indian Wells champion picked up his first grass-court win of the 2022 season on his third attempt, getting back on track after upset losses to Tim van Rijthoven in 's-Hertogenbosch and Jack Draper at The Queen's Club.
Fritz, who saved a pair of break points early in the match, was in fine form on serve, winning 88 per cent (29/33) of his first-serve points.
Maxime Cressy made it three Americans in the last eight with a 7-6(2), 6-4 win against home favourite Daniel Evans. The 25-year-old hit 12 aces and saved seven of eight break points in the nearly two-hour victory.