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Fritz stays on fire in Indian Wells, beats Rublev to reach first Masters 1000 final

Taylor Fritz is an Indian Wells finalist — and it really shouldn’t come as a big surprise to tennis fans. The American continued to excel at his favorite tournament by beating Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Saturday.

Taylor Fritz returns a shot against Jaume Munar of Spain during the 2022 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. Taylor Fritz returns a shot against Jaume Munar of Spain during the 2022 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. Image Credit: Zuma / Panoramic

ATP Indian Wells Masters 1000 | Results | Schedule

As good as Taylor Fritz’s 2021 BNP Paribas Open performance was, he knew an opportunity slipped away when he lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the semi-finals.

To say that Fritz has made amends for that result five months ago would be a gross understatement. The 24-year-old won his semi-final match in the desert this time around, upsetting Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-4 to reach a Masters 1000 title match for the first time in his career.

“It’s like — I said it yesterday — it’s like those moments are like the reason why I wanted to be an athlete, wanted to play professional tennis,” Fritz commented. “It’s the best part of it all.”

This is a moment that almost never happened. The American previously survived back-to-back final-set tiebreakers against Jaume Munar and Alex de Minaur just to reach the quarter-finals. He was also pushed to three sets by Miomir Kecmanovic on Friday.

Against Rublev Fritz was simply too good

Against Rublev Fritz was simply too good.

“Everything,” the world No. 7 responded when asked what Fritz has improved in his game during his current hot streak that dates back to last year’s Indian Wells semi-final run. “First of all, he has a huge, huge serve, which gives him a lot of (an) advantage. And on top of that, he has good strokes from both sides, forehand and backhand. “He (can) hit really hard and he hits really with a good percentage.

“It’s tough to play when one player, he has both sides, more or less solid, both sides aggressive. So you need to try to raise your level, as well, because if you just push the ball he will hit winners.”

Fritz’s reward is a final showdown against Rafael Nadal, who defeated Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

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