By Ricky Dimon
Taylor Fritz finished his first-round match at the Memphis Open on Tuesday with 13 fewer points won than Yen-Hsun Lu. Fritz did not win more points than Lu in any of the three contested sets. But the American won the points that mattered most and therefore managed to prevail 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(7) after two hours and nine minutes.
Fritz, last year’s runner-up in Memphis, fought off three match points at 6-4, 6-5, and 7-6 in the third-set tiebreaker. Lu led 5-2 in the decisive ‘breaker and one of his match-point opportunities came on his own serve.
Chinese Taipei’s top player also won 112 total points to Fritz’s 99 but could not get across the finish line.
“It was tough,” the 19-year-old assured. “I was just thinking, ‘don’t think about it.’ These are the moments I play for–these pressure moments. They’re my favorite things about the sport.
One of [the match points] he was just pounding the forehands and I was just like thinking during the point one of these he’s just going to finish me. Sometimes you just find a way and you can’t explain it.”
Fritz is joined in the last 16 by fellow Americans Tim Smyczek and Ryan Harrison. Smyczek got the best of compatriot Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Harrison set up an all-American affair with Sam Querrey on Wednesday by taking care of Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 7-5.
“Previous to that he had no real look at my serve. Unfortunately that led to him being more confident and me having a bit lower energy at the start of the second set.”
The American charge also included Monday wins for Donald Young and Reilly Opelka. Young, who battled back from break deficits in the second and third sets against Adrian Mannarino, will face Opelka in the second round.