Taylor Fritz delivered a clinical display Wednesday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, where the American advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Denis Shapovalov.
The World No. 5 converted three of five break points to defeat Shapovalov in 78 minutes at the ATP 500. He fired 20 winners, including seven aces, to reach the last eight in Acapulco for the third time in five appearances.
“I’m [pleased] with how I played a lot of the big points today,” said Fritz, one of the stars of Netflix’s Break Point, after his victory. “I was very aggressive on the big points. I don’t necessarily love it when I play very tight and safe on big points. I feel really good when I’m being aggressive and taking my chances on those ones.”
Fritz’s quarter-final opponent in Mexico will be Frances Tiafoe, whom he leads 5-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series. The 25-year-old Fritz admitted that his friendship with Tiafoe added something extra to their on-court meetings, the most recent of which came in the Tokyo final last October.
“Frances and I are really close friends, but we’re also rivals as well,” said Fritz, who won a pair of tie-breaks to lift the title on that occasion in Japan. ”We’ve played each other a lot and I know I usually approach it like any other match, but I feel like whenever we play there’s probably a little bit of extra pressure. I think both of us really want to beat the other one.”
The other quarter-final in the top half of the Acapulco draw will also feature a pair of Americans. Tommy Paul was leading 6-4, 2-2 when his opponent Michael Mmoh (right leg) retired from their second-round clash, and the Australian Open semi-finalist will next play Mackenzie McDonald, a 6-2, 6-0 winner against Brandon Nakashima.
Another heavyweight quarter-final was set for Thursday’s schedule in Mexico by Holger Rune and Matteo Berrettini, who both enjoyed comfortable straight-sets wins to book their spot in the last eight.
The fourth-seeded Rune needed just 60 minutes to defeat Portuguese World No. 85 Nuno Borges 6-0, 6-2. The 19-year-old Dane, who is playing in Acapulco for the first time this week, has now won 29 of his past 35 matches dating back to September last year.
Rune’s next opponent Berrettini eased past Elias Ymer 6-3, 6-3. The Italian had not played a competitive match since 17 January prior to this week, but he cruised into the quarter-finals by striking 27 winners and winning 84 per cent (27/32) of points behind his first serve in a 95-minute win.
Rune and Berrettini have played just once before on Tour, with the Italian prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 at last year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.