Taylor Fritz won his ninth consecutive BNP Paribas Open match on Tuesday, doing so with extra flair.

The American hit a reverse serve — one with the spin of a lefty’s slice out wide in the Ad court — en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Marton Fucsovics for a place in the Indian Wells quarter-finals. The fourth seed will next play 11th seed Jannik Sinner or former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka.

“I had to kind of just fight through a lot of games. I didn’t really at times have an answer for it, so I just had to tough it out and get points where I could,” Fritz said. “I was just able to find a way through.”

Fritz battled through a 22-point game at 2-0 in the second set, finishing it off with a point he started using the reverse serve. The home favourite did not use the trick shot to entertain the crowd, though. Fritz was desperately searching for ways to discomfort his Hungarian opponent.

“That was a super, super long game we were having. I couldn’t seem to win it even when I was making first serves on my game points. I felt like the balls were just super blown up and I was against the wind. Even if I hit my spot and hit a good serve I feel like he was returning it,” Fritz said. “I just got to the point where I was like, ‘Nothing else is working so I might as well just do my reverse serve, and maybe that will.’ I was just kind of at the point where nothing else was working so I might as well try it. I ended up winning the point, so I guess it worked out.”

It was a far trickier match than the scoreline implies, but Fritz ultimately clawed into the last eight after one hour and 41 minutes. Down to No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings because he is defending 1,000 points from his title run, the American appears truly at home in the California desert.

“I feel like it just that energy around this week, playing my home tournament. It is slower conditions, but it gives me a lot of time to be able to set up and usually just play attacking tennis,” Fritz said. “I really couldn’t tell you a specific reason why I do so well here, probably just the whole feeling around it.”

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