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Fritz wins third-set tiebreak to reach Indian Wells quarters; reveals mixed feelings about new tiebreak rule at Majors
For the second match in a row, American Taylor Fritz advanced in a final set tiebreak and meets Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic next
On the same day that all the four Grand Slams announced that they will trial a 10-point tiebreak at 6-6 in the deciding set, American Taylor Fritz defeated Alex de Minaur in a third-set tiebreak to reach the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals. Later, the American revealed he had mixed feelings about the new rule, which will get tested for a one year period starting with the French Open in May.
The 24-year-old Fritz, who reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells, his home event, just five months ago, scored a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over de Minaur in two hours and 23 minutes. This was the second consecutive win in a third set tiebreak, after beating Jaume Munar 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 in the previous round.
Speaking after his win, Fritz said the new rule will deprive fans of some exciting final set battles but believed it worked in favour of the players, who tend to get too tired after a marathon battle to compete well in their next round.
“I think it’s more exciting probably for the fans to be able to see that, like that match tiebreaker. But I will kind of miss that, like seeing people like 20-20 or like 14-14 in the fifth and like going and like watching that. That’s just like an absolute battle. I think it does suck for those people because there’s, like you’re so done for your next match if you have one of those. “
“But it’s tradition and I will miss seeing those crazy battles. But it’s probably good for fans and good for the players if they want to move forward in the tournament. I think if I find myself in one of those in the future I’ll be pretty happy that they have that rule now.”
The 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who remained unbeaten in 2022 with his 18th consecutive win on Wednesday and also reached the Indian Wells quarters, said he was indifferent to the new rule.
“Well, I don’t care much honestly. I honestly don’t have a clear opinion. I am not in favour or not against. I think that’s what they decided. Happy with it or not? I don’t care. Honestly, I don’t think going to make a big difference. I read that everyone going to be the same. In some way that’s positive. I don’t think in Roland Garros makes a big impact.
“My opinion the biggest impact going to be in Wimbledon. Sometimes it’s so difficult to break, so the matches become very long. But I don’t feel that for Roland Garros change a lot. OK, yes, can be a few more games, but I don’t feel in Roland Garros you going to go normally 22-20. In Wimbledon that can happen.”
“I think I’ve been coming out on these matches a little more often, just because I have more confidence in my game”: Fritz
Fritz, who is the second-highest ranked American currently after Reilly Opelka, said he has more confidence in his game now and believes that helps him play better in tight situations.
“I think just having more confidence in a lot of my shots, just playing better, believing that I’m a better tennis player. I think that gives me the confidence to play these situations better. It’s not any kind of a mental change. I’ll still get nervous. I’ll still, everyone chokes sometimes and, sometimes I blow matches and sometimes I come up clutch in matches. I think I’ve been coming out on these matches a little more often, just because I have more confidence in my game. I have more confidence in my shot. So when it comes crunch time, I feel like I can kind of trust what I want to do, trust my game.”
The American will next meet Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic, who scored an upset win over world No 6 Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 for just his second career top 10 win. Fritz holds a 2-0 edge in head-to-head against Kecmanovic across all levels of professional tennis (1-0 at the ATP Tour level).