Taylor Fritz had not reached a Grand Slam quarter-final prior to Monday afternoon, but the American broke that barrier in style at Wimbledon with a classy 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 fourth-round victory against Australian qualifier Jason Kubler.
The 11th seed produced an impressive display of clean hitting off both wings to end the World No. 99 Kubler’s spirited run at the grass-court major. Fritz crushed 40 winners and broke his opponent’s serve five times to complete a two-hour win on No. 1 Court.
“A first Grand Slam quarter-final, it’s a really big deal,” said Fritz in his on-court interview. “To be a part of the final eight, and I’m glad I could get the win on the fourth of July, being an American. It’s great, being in my first quarter-final, it just shows that all the hard work I’m putting in is paying off.”
His run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals continues a breakthrough year for the 24-year-old Fritz, who lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March. His win against Kubler improved his match record for 2022 to 29-10, and the American admitted it felt good to be rewarded for his efforts behind the scenes.
“There’s not really any secrets, it’s just a lot of time and hard work that I’ve put in,” said Fritz. “I started to kind of find my game at the end of last year, and I’ve been building and working, doing the right things, and it’s good to see that it’s paying off.”
After recovering 0/40 to hold in the opening game of the match, Fritz broke immediately in the next game to take charge early in his first tour-level meeting with Kubler since the 2018 US Open. A dominant display from the American was wrapped up when he overcame late stern resistance from Kubler to clinch a marathon 10th game of the third set by converting his fourth match point.
“I came out maybe a little bit shaky,” said Fritz. “I went down 0/40 in that first game, was really lucky to hold that game and then just flip it and get the break next game. That was the first set. I felt like I was serving well and it could have gone differently if those first two games were a little different.
“Second set, I played really well, and then third set I feel like he slowed it down a little bit and backed up a bit in the court, maybe made it a little bit tougher for me to put the ball away, so we started having some really long rallies and it got really tight. I’m just really happy to get through in the end.”
Having picked up his third tour-level title at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne nine days ago, Fritz has maintained his red-hot grass-court form at Wimbledon. The 24-year-old dispatched Lorenzo Musetti, Alastair Gray and Alex Molcan in straight sets to book his meeting with Kubler, and his impressive showing against the 29-year-old Australian was another sign that Fritz will take some stopping this fortnight at SW19.
Fritz, who reached the fourth round of a Slam for the first time at January’s Australian Open, next takes on two-time champion Rafael Nadal or World No. 25 Botic van de Zandschulp for a place in the semi-finals at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
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