Fritz fightback ousts Murray as Pegula beats Svitolina to reach DC Open semis - GulfToday

Fritz fightback ousts Murray as Pegula beats Svitolina to reach DC Open semis


Taylor Fritz celebrates after winning a point in Washington, DC. AFP

Top-seeded Taylor Fritz outlasted three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4 and faced a quarter-final later on Friday at the rain-hit Washington Open.

World number nine Fritz, coming off his sixth career ATP title last week in Atlanta, rallied to dispatch the 44th-ranked British star after a three-hour battle.

The 25-year-old American’s reward was a later quarter-final against Australian Jordan Thompson, who ousted American Christopher Eubanks 6-2, 6-2 in another match postponed from Thursday because of rain.

On the women’s side at the ATP and WTA hardcourt event, top seed Jessica Pegula rallied past Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.

The American will next face Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari, who won twice on Friday. Sakkari ousted US seventh seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3 after beating Canadian Leylah Fernandez 7-5, 6-2 in a rain-postponed match.

Murray, showing his formidable range of skills at age 36, won his first break chance of the match with a forehand cross-court drop volley winner on the line, breaking Fritz and pull level 5-5 on the way to a first set tie-break.

Murray smashed a forehand winner for a 3-1 lead, took a quick break to replace a shattered shoe, then took two points off Fritz’s serve for a 5-2 lead. He closed out the first set two points later on a forehand winner.

Fritz battled back to take the second and they fought to 4-4 in the third before Murray swatted a backhand wide to surrender a break.

Murray roared to a 40-0 lead in the 10th game but Fritz saved three break points, the last on his 17th ace. Murray denied him on two match points but Fritz blasted a forehand winner on his third chance for the victory.

“Disappointing one to lose because I had my chances,” Murray said. “You want to be getting through those matches. They were matches I’ve been used to winning. So, yeah, it’s frustrating right now.”

Pegula broke to open the final set and denied Svitolina on five break points in the sixth game before holding for a 4-2 lead.

Svitolina saved two match points before holding in the ninth game but Pegula saved a break point in the 10th game and advanced with a service winner on her third match point, improving to 3-1 overall against Svitolina after two hours and eight minutes.

“I was like, ‘If I don’t serve this out, it might have been a quick 5-7.’ I probably would have lost,” Pegula said.

World number three Pegula, the 2019 Washington champion, reached her fifth WTA semi-final of the year and first since April.

Svitolina, making a comeback after becoming a mother last year, is coming off a trip to the French Open quarter-finals and a victory over top-ranked Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon.

Liudmila Samsonova, the eighth seed from Russia, beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-4, 6-2 to book a semi-final against either US third seed Coco Gauff or Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic.

Tallon Griekspoor ousted France’s Gael Monfils, the 2016 Washington champion, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in a match halted by rain on Thursday. The Dutchman faced American J.J. Wolf later Friday.

British ninth seed Daniel Evans beat Alexander Shevchenko 6-4, 6-3 to book a later quarter-final against second-seeded hometown hero Frances Tiafoe, who eliminated Chinese teen Shang Juncheng 6-2, 6-3.

Tiafoe, who leads Evans 4-2 in their career rivalry, or the Briton will reach a Saturday semi-final against Bulgarian fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who advanced by walkover due to a leg injury for France’s Ugo Humbert.


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