Fritz seeks fix to Djokovic woes at US Open

Taylor Fritz and his fellow Americans have given home fans plenty to shout about at the US Open (Ed JONES)

Taylor Fritz knows he’ll have to rewrite the record books against Novak Djokovic in order to keep his US Open dream alive after setting up a quarter-final with the 23-time Grand Slam champion on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Fritz became the third American to reach the men’s quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows after a straight-sets win over Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker.

His reward for a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-4 victory against the world number 128 is another crack at Djokovic, who has won all seven meetings including a one-sided affair in Cincinnati last month.

Fritz has lost in straight sets each time with the exception of a five-set third-round defeat at the 2021 Australian Open, their lone Grand Slam encounter to date.

“Novak’s Novak. It’s tough. I said it on court: he’s gotten me seven times,” said Fritz.

“There’s no one on tour that has any kind of a record like that against me, so I’m hoping one of these times I’ve got to get him. US Open quarters would be a pretty good time to get him.”

“I think the toughest thing is just convincing yourself that it’s, like, just play within yourself,” he added.

“I don’t need to find myself trying to hit serves bigger or aiming closer to the lines, stuff like that, because it’s Novak.

“I think I need to play within myself and trust that if I’m playing well, then that’s going to be enough, and I don’t need to kind of do anything extra.”

Fritz, the ninth seed, is through to his second Grand Slam quarter-final after making the last eight at Wimbledon a year ago.

He lost to Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic on that occasion, one he rates as the biggest of his career along with the impending Djokovic clash.

“It’s on par with quarter-finals, Rafa, Wimbledon, then maybe finals Indian Wells, Rafa. I’d say it’s in the same ballpark. They’re definitely top three,” said Fritz.

He joined compatriots Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton in the last eight after emulating his mother Kathy May’s run to the US Open quarter-finals in 1978.

It is the first time since 2005 three American men have made the last eight in New York.

Fritz was asked if he felt extra pressure against Stricker knowing two of his compatriots had already won earlier on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t say it added more pressure. I’d say it motivated me more because I didn’t want to be the one to not make it, especially when I am the favourite in the match to get through that draw,” he said.

“So I obviously wanted to be a part of the group of guys in the quarter-finals.

“I called it, like, two rounds ago. I said, ‘Hey, there’s definitely going to be an American in the semi-finals on that side.'”


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