Wimbledon: Taylor Fritz ends U.S. men major quarterfinal drought; Nick Kyrgios escapes
Taylor Fritz became the first U.S. man to make a major quarterfinal since the January 2020 Australian Open, reaching the last eight at Wimbledon and setting up a matchup with Rafael Nadal.
Fritz, the No. 11 seed, dispatched 99th-ranked Australian qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round on Monday to reach his first major quarterfinal. He’ll face Nadal, who swept No. 21 seed Botic van de Zandschulp to move three wins away from a third consecutive major title.
Fritz, 24, beat Nadal in the Indian Wells final in March, marking the biggest tournament title for a U.S. man in more than a decade. Both men played that match injured.
“I’ve kind of been in these moments before, Indian Wells semifinal, Indian Wells final. I’d say probably it feels about the same as like a Slam quarterfinal,” said Fritz, who hasn’t faced a top-50 player through four rounds. “It makes the occasion bigger if I am playing Nadal.”
After a French Open second round loss, Fritz lost his opening matches in consecutive grass-court tournaments to start June and dealt with right knee tendinitis.
“It was a low point,” he said. “I kept telling myself that I’ll find my tennis.”
He did, taking the title in Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon. Now he’s on an eight-match win streak and hasn’t dropped a set at Wimbledon.
Minutes before Fritz advanced, Australian Nick Kyrgios powered through a right shoulder injury, outlasting American Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2.
“It wasn’t anywhere near my best performance,” said Kyrgios, who took a medical timeout for the shoulder in the third set, when he received treatments during multiple changeovers. “I need a glass of wine for sure tonight.”
Asked about the shoulder, Kyrgios said he took painkillers and chalked it up to a lot of recent matches. This is his fourth grass-court event since the start of June. Many top players enter one (or zero) grass-court lead-up events before Wimbledon.
Kyrgios, maybe the most controversial tennis pro, was also reflective upon making his first major quarterfinal since 2015.
“There was a time where I was having to be forced out of a pub at 4 a.m. to play Nadal second round,” in 2019, he said. “My agent had to come get me out of a pub at 4 a.m. before I played my match on Centre Court Wimbledon. I’ve come a long way, that’s for sure.”
Kyrgios, now 6-0 in Wimbledon five-setters, next plays 43rd-ranked Chilean Cristian Garin. Garin erased a two-set deficit, and two match points, to oust No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia in a fifth-set tiebreak.
“I was really excited to play de Minaur,” Kyrgios said. “I came on court when he was two sets to love up, so I was actually expecting to play him.”
Nakashima, a 20-year-old ranked No. 56, was bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to make a major quarterfinal since Andy Roddick in 2003.
The last American woman left, No. 20 seed Amanda Anisimova, swept Serena Williams vanquisher Harmony Tan of France 6-2, 6-3.
Anisimova, into her first major quarter since her 2019 French Open semifinal run at age 17, gets 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep next.
Halep routed No. 4 Paula Badosa of Spain 6-1, 6-2, leaving No. 3 Ons Jabeur as the lone top-10 women’s seed in the final eight. Halep is the lone woman left in the draw with major final experience.
It’s the second consecutive major that one of the eight women’s quarterfinalists is a top-10 player.
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