Match Chronicle

Fritz increases his adaptability in Eastbourne

The American advances to the semifinals of the ATP 250 on grass

June 27, 2024

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images para LTA

Taylor Fritz is aiming to become Eastbourne’s first three-time champion (he won in 2019 and 2022).
By Staff

Reaching the finals on all surfaces in a year is an achievement only for the most versatile players on tour, and Taylor Fritz proved on Thursday that he is one of them.

With his 7-6(5), 7-6(5) victory over China’s Juncheng Shang at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, the American secured his first appearance in the semi-finals on grass in 2024, an event he had already made this year on hard courts and clay.

The No. 13 in the PIF ATP Rankings had already made semi-final appearances on all three tour surfaces in a single season (2019). And he is now one more win away from completing his first year advancing to the finals on all three conditions, after reaching this round on the clay of Munich (runner-up) and the hard courts of Delray Beach (champion).

His form this week suggests that he can do it, after all, he has won all four sets he has played this week. First he beat Thiago Seyboth Wild, and now an unstoppable Shang, who was beating Tomás Etcheverry and Emiil Ruusuvuori. This Thursday he showed that he was not so far from pulling off an upset in a match that had no breaks.

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Fritz saved all four break points he faced; and Shang, all five. But the American was more thorough in the tiebreakers, in which he only recorded three unforced twos and one double. Shang, for his part, committed seven unforced errors between both tie-breaks, and fell short in his intention to advance to the ATP semifinals for the second time (first on grass).

Thanks to his big week, Fritz will be No. 12 starting Monday and reclaim the US No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings (currently held by No. 12 Tommy Paul). But he will want to continue adding to put himself in a better position to return to the Top 10 in the coming weeks. To do this he will have to face Alexander Vukic in the semifinals, against whom he leads the Lexus ATP HeadToHead 1-0 between them.

The Australian, who entered as a lucky loser, accompanied his victories against Fabian Maroszan and Alexander Bublik with a hard-fought victory in the quarterfinals over the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka with sets of 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5). Nishioka had precisely been Vukic’s executioner in the previous phase, but he has known how to take advantage of the second opportunity in Eastbourne, where he will be looking for his first final on grass.

The other semi-final key will be contested by fellow Australian Marx Purcell and local Billy Harris. The first defeated the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 7-6(4), and the second defeated the Italian Flavio Cobolli 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-2. In their first matchup in an ATP Tour main draw, each will be seeking their first advance to a tour final.


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