Fritz didn’t get his first break points until 3-2 in the third set. But when he finally converted, he never lost another game. | Image Credit: Getty Images
Taylor Fritz advanced to the final four of the ATP Finals by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), and 6-2 in the year-end tournament.
The American will face five-time champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
The match went down on serve until the final set when Fritz was broken twice in the last three games, both sides holding at love, sealing his place in the next round with the first of two match points when fellow tournament debutant Auger-Aliassime sent a backhand wide.
Before the sixth game of the final set, the other breakpoints came in the second game of the second set when Fritz had to hold off three of them against his Canadian opponent.
Casper Ruud booked his place in the semifinals but lost 7-5, 7-5 to eliminated Rafael Nadal to leave the Norwegian 0-8 against the top three players.
Top-seeded Nadal lost his first two matches at the tournament and avoided matching his career-worst streak of five straight losses.
“I’m training hard,” Nadal said.
“Maybe not enough matches to be at the level I need to be. Not enough confidence, maybe, after six difficult months. And that’s how it happened.
“I accept that the season didn’t end the way I wanted, at least I ended it with a positive victory,” he continued.
“It’s important, the last official match of the season, so I’m happy for that.”
Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open to take his Grand Slam titles to a record 22, but he has played just nine singles matches since withdrawing from Wimbledon the day before his semifinals match with a torn abdominal muscles.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more: 2022 has had a tough six months, two Grand Slams, and ending the year at a high place in the rankings. So, I can’t complain at all,” the 36-year-old Nadal said.
“At my age, to achieve and be competitive means a lot to me.”
For 2023, the Spaniard said he wants to “start the season with the right energy, the right attitude, to reach the level I need to be competitive from the start. Let’s try it, I’m excited about it.”
Ruud will face the winner of Friday’s match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.