© Chengdu Open

Fritz Powers Into Chengdu QFs; Pella Upsets Thiem

#NextGenATP American on the charge in Chengdu

#NextGenATP star Taylor Fritz is through to the quarter-finals of the Chengdu Open after finishing strongly to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Thursday in the first week of the ATP World Tour Asian swing.

The 19-year-old Fritz is looking for a big push in the closing stages of the season as he bids to qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals. The right-hander is currently 11th in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, with the Top 7 qualifying by right and the eighth spot going to the winner of an all-Italian wild-card tournament.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Fritz, who came through qualifying at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament. "The match was really physical and we were both hitting the ball really big. I was doing a lot of moving because he plays so aggressive and attacks so much.

"I've definitely found the best tennis I've ever played at the end of this year,” added the American. “This is my third quarter-final of the year. I've been playing really good since the hard-court season. I started the year still recovering from a knee injury and that's what hurt me a lot at the end of last year. Now I finally feel like I'm getting it back and I think I'm playing better than when I was at my career-high ranking."

Fritz is looking to return to an ATP World Tour semi-final for the first time since making his breakthrough with a final run in Memphis in February 2016 (l. to Nishikori). He goes on to face Argentina’s Guido Pella, who upset top seed Dominic Thiem 7-6(6), 6-4.

World No. 72 Pella edged a tight first set, in which both players held a set point, and seized the momentum at the start of the second set with an immediate break of Thiem’s serve. Thiem fended off two match points to hold in the ninth game, and had a break point as Pella serve for the match, but could not deny the Argentine, who held on for victory in one hour and 56 minutes.

Another of the top seeds fell as fourth-seeded Andrey Rublev was defeated 6-2, 6-1 by Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in 54 minutes. The 34-year-old Lu, 15 years older than Rublev, converted four of his 12 break points as he reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since Winston-Salem in August 2016.

Lu goes on to face Marcos Baghdatis, who defeated last week’s Metz champion Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 47 minutes. Baghdatis withstood 14 aces to break serve four times, claiming his 15th win of the season. The Cypriot is looking to reach his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season.

Qureshi Pushes Towards Another Doubles Final
Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi is closing in on his fifth tour-level title of the season with a fifth different partner after teaming with Israel's Jonathan Erlich to reach the doubles semi-finals in Chengdu. Playing together for the second time (Houston, 2015), Erlich and Qureshi defeated Leonardo Mayer and Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 2-6, 10-4.

Qureshi, who also won a career-best four titles in 2011, lifted trophies this season in Newport (w/ R. Ram), Antalya (w/ Lindstedt), Barcelona (w/ Mergea) and Auckland (w/ Matkowski). He also won the Surbiton Challenger (w/ Daniell).

Erlich and Qureshi next meet Santiago Gonzalez and Nenad Zimonjic, who held off Treat Huey and Fabrice Martin 7-5, 5-7, 10-3.

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