Novak Djokovic dominates Taylor Fritz to reach Masters final
More clinical than brilliant, Novak Djokovic, who struggled at times but was very realistic in key moments, defeated Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks (7-6). 7-6 ), in the semifinals of the Turin Masters on Saturday afternoon.
Unbeaten (four wins) since the beginning of the week, the Serbian thus qualified for the eighth final of his career at the Masters tournament for the first time since 2018. He will score against either Kasper Ruud or Andrey Rublev, who face each other in this matchup on Sunday. Saturday evening (9pm onwards), his sixth coronation at the event. He would later equal Roger Federer’s record.
From the outset, Djokovic took Fritz’s serve size, one of the American’s main weapons. Thanks to his eye and sense of anticipation, the best receiver in the world puts pressure on his opponent immediately. The world number 9, who struggled to exchange logic, sometimes forced his shots. At 2-2, he made several errors and lost his white advantage.
Djokovic makes the difference at the end of the tie-break
“Nole”, which had been up two tons until then, then experienced a brief decline. Four unforced errors, three on the front and one, rough, on the back, offered Fritz a break on the plateau. Then the match was tied. True to his commitment, at each start of the shootout (from 0-30 to 3-3 and from 15-30 to 5-5), the American found the first ball to hit winning aces or serves.
The Serbian, who dominated the exchange, meanwhile fed off many unforced errors (20 in the first set) from his opponent to stay true to the score. The first round was finally decided by a tie-break. Leading 5-4, Djokovic made the difference thanks to some big forehand acceleration. A final, long line left Fritz unanswered after a long rally at 6-5. The former world number 1 managed to take the lead in the deciding game after being blocked in four narrowly winning shots at 6-6.
Jostled, the Serbian does the job
With a player he has always beaten in five head-to-heads (losing just two sets at the 2021 Australian Open), Djokovic seemed to have his cards in hand. But he fumbled early in the second set. Much wait-and-see, he succumbed to the aggressiveness of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 winner in March and reneged on his commitment.
The meeting, which was significantly separated from the start, went into a false rhythm. White games or express are linked. At 4-3, 0-30, Fritz strung together four straight game winners, including a sumptuous backhand volley. At 5-3, 0-30, the world No. 8 was heading into the third set after two quick faults in the exchange of sets, but the Serb closed out and the American was straining as he returned to the heights despite two aces at 5-4.
At 30A, behind a big lead, the son of Cathy May (world number 10 in 1977), visibly embarrassed by being shouted at in public, blacked out a reverse penalty at the net. Another mistake in the move gave him an early break.
“Yesterday (Saturday) Medvedev was serving the game. Today (Sunday), Taylor (Fritz) served for the set. In these moments, I find a little something extra.
As in the first set, it all came down to a tense and spectacular tie-break, an exceptional exchange that resulted in Fritz being crushed to level the score at 5-5. The American saved a match point at 6-5 (backhand fouls from Djokovic), but his forehand completely eluded him at 7-6. The game too.
“I had to fight to live, Djokovic commented on the court. I didn’t feel too sensitive or too comfortable. After the big fight against Medvedev (6-3, 6-7, 7-6 win in 3h11) yesterday (Friday), I suspected that I would probably need time to adjust my moves, find the right rhythm and the right dynamics in front of Fritz, one of the best servers on the circuit. I had to be patient. »
“I didn’t start the second set very well, but I managed to break at 5-4. he continued. Medvedev served the match yesterday. Today (Saturday), Taylor served for the shot. In these moments, I find a little something extra. I managed to hold my nerve, I played the shot more. I’m so glad I got out of it. It wasn’t my best day in tennis, but I kept going. »