Fritz into Indian Wells final with two-set win over Rublev

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Taylor Fritz ended Andrey Rublev’s 13-match winning streak with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the BNP Paribas Open semifinals.

Fritz advanced to the final Sunday against either Rafael Nadal or 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who met in the other semifinal. Seeded 20th, Fritz is the first American man to make the final since John Isner in 2012. Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Indian Wells in 2001.

Seeded seventh, Rublev had won 13 consecutive matches since Feb. 14, including back-to-back titles at Marseille and Dubai.

Fritz came out strongly in front of a supportive crowd at the tournament where he’s been coming since he was a kid from his home near San Diego. He served a love game to open the match and then promptly broke Rublev and held again for a 3-0 lead.

Fritz held at love to go up 4-1. He had a chance to serve out the first set leading 5-2, but the Russian won the next three games to tie it, 5-all.

Fritz took a 6-5 lead with a 112-mph ace. He broke the big-hitting Rublev after a seven-deuce game to take the set.

The Russian reacted by hitting a ball into the sky and repeatedly punching his racket strings with his right fist. Rublev needed a medical timeout before the start of the second set to tend to a bloodied hand.

In the second set, Fritz came up with a big hold at 5-4, firing an ace down the T after fighting off two break points. The men stayed on serve until the 10th game.

Rublev saved eight of the 11 break points he faced, but he missed an easy forehand volley on top of the net to give Fritz his first match point. Fritz bashed a return of Rublev’s serve to take the pivotal break and the match.

Rublev hugged Fritz at the net. They’ve known each other since the junior ranks, where Rublev beat Fritz in three of their four meetings.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.