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Paul outlasts fellow American Fritz, reaches Mexican final

Telcel ATP 500 Mexican Open 2023 - Day 5

ACAPULCO, MEXICO - MARCH 03: Taylor Fritz of United States shakes hands with Tommy Paul of United States at the end of the match as part of Day 5 of the Telcel ATP Mexican Open 2023 at Arena GNP Seguros on March 03, 2023 in Acapulco, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

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ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Tommy Paul defeated fellow American and longtime rival Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2) in a three-hour marathon match and secured a spot in the Mexican Open final.

The pair of 25-year-olds have squared off since they were teenagers. They faced each other for the first time - when Fritz was 13 and Paul was 14 - at the 2011 USTA Boys’ 14s National Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

Paul need nearly 3 1/2 hours to beat the third-seeded Fritz in the semifinal round and became the third American to reach the final in Acapulco. Fritz accomplished the feat in 2020, and Sam Querrey won the tournament in 2017.

Paul, who reached the semifinals in the Australian Open in January, is trying to capture his second career title after Stockholm in 2021.

He will face Alex de Minaur of Australia, who defeated Hulger Rune of Denmark 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The eighth-seeded De Minaur is 3-0 against Paul and will play in his first final since Atlanta in 2022, when he won his sixth career title.