by the envoy in Turin. Two hours and 45 minutes of match, but everything can really be summed up in a few lines. It is not a question of length, if anything of substance: that between Taylor Fritz And Felix Auger-Aliassime it was a mirror challenge. Two great servants; lightning-fast balls and surface; a city where a pinch of high ground contributed to the rest. We expected great serves and forehands. Big serves and forehands have arrived. And they did it with one consistency and balance that for Exactly 2 and a half hours it was practically impossible to scratch.
Up until then, in fact, the match had been decided by two tie-breaks. The first, in favor of Fritz, closed by 7 points to 4. The second, in favor of Auger-Aliassime, with the Canadian prevailing by 7 points to 5. Here, perhaps, a small indication of where the game, we had already had it. In fact, Fritz had escaped ahead by 4 points to 2, but an unfortunate – and unexpected, given the trend – double fault not only put the Canadian back in the slipstream, but also gave Auger-Aliassime the boost needed to overtake. An even more aggressive tennis, courageous and all in thrust with the forehand, brought Toni Nadal’s student back into the battle.
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It seemed the prelude to a third and inevitable tie-break, with a trend far too constant to expect any jolts. A game he has seen more than 65% of the points end up under 4 colves; and in which the player leaving the service had essentially always dressed as the ‘dictator’ within the exchange.
All of this, in fact, up to those two and a half hours of the game. A sixth game in which Auger-Aliassime immediately finished under 0-30. And where he was no longer able to save himself. Fritz, in a long fight for advantages, managed to break serve on the fourth break point. And together with that to slip on the fast train for the semifinal. The American, in fact, not only took away the stretch necessary to win the game but together with that also all the certainties – or the nervous energies, if you prefer – of an Auger-Aliassime at that point without his armour. Four consecutive games to certify the final success for 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 which make Taylor Fritz the first American to return to the semifinals of the ATP Finals since 2017, when – a little surprise – “the man by chance” succeeded Jack Sock.
Yes, because somehow there are so many similarities between that Sock and this Fritz. And not just for the power at the serve. Even that Sock hooked the Finals at the last good opportunity, going on to win Paris Bercy. An almost unexpected journey like that of Fritz, who is playing this tournament today precisely because of Alcaraz’s injury in Bercy. Who knows if Fritz will be able to take even the little extra step and go all the way to the final. Of course he will not find the “surprise” Dimitrov – as he was at the time – but the strongest player seen so far in the tournament: Novak Djokovic. The precedents are merciless: 5-0 in favor of the Serbian, with Fritz never winning a set except for the crossover in Australia. However, there is another statistic, if you like, in favor of the American: this year, when he reached the semifinals, he then won the tournament. Will it be enough?
We still don’t know. What is certain is that he will need a small miracle; or certainly something beyond the service/forehand scheme. But for this we will find out on Saturday. The other semifinal, however, will be between Ruud and the winner of Friday’s match between Rublev and Tsitsipas..
Luxury Auger-Aliassime! Relive the perfect match point with DjokovicCopyAMP code
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