The third time was the charm for Taylor Fritz against Alexander Zverev at the Swiss Indoors Basel. The American picked up his maiden win over the second-seeded German with a convincing 7-6(7), 6-4 performance to reach the second round.
“I played really solid, so it feels good to get that [win[ instead of him getting me for the third time in a row,” Fritz said. “I got out there today and the sliders [on my serve] were working well.”
Both players won 41 points in the opening set, but it was Fritz’s inspired run in the tie-break that gave him the early lead. Zverev held a 4/0 lead, but the American clawed back and produced an outstanding reflex volley for set point at 6/5. The second seed erased it with a forehand winner and earned his own set point at 7/6, but Fritz evened the score with an overhead smash. The 21-year-old followed up with a big forehand and an ace for a commanding advantage.
Zverev’s form dipped slightly at the start of the second set and Fritz capitalised on the opportunity. He earned the lone break of the match at 1-1 and cracked a backhand winner to close out play after one hour and 25 minutes.
The victory gave Fritz his fourth Top 10 win of the year and fifth overall. He’s produced his best year on Tour this season, clinching his maiden ATP Tour title in Eastbourne (d. Querrey) and finishing runner-up in Atlanta (l. to De Minaur) and Los Cabos (l. to Schwartzman). The American will now look for another first-time win against #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who he trails 0-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Zverev was seeking a big week to bolster his chances at qualifying to defend his title at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. The German is in seventh place in the ATP Race to London with 2,855 points and holds a 410-point lead over ninth-placed Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard begins his Basel campaign in the night session against last year’s runner-up, Marius Copil of Romania.
Moldovan Radu Albot rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic. The 29-year-old’s reward is a second-round clash with top seed and nine-time Basel champion Roger Federer, who has won his past 21 matches at this event.
Source: ATP World Tour