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Taylor Fritz stays red hot, Grigor Dimitrov upsets Ruud to reach quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo Tennis

Taylor Fritz reached his fourth Masters 1000 quarterfinal in his last five Masters events. Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

By Ricky Dimon

If Taylor Fritz continues to find success on multiple different surfaces, he will be heading straight for a debut appearance in the Nitto ATP Finals.

That is exactly what the 13th-ranked American is doing so far, riding momentum from the biggest title of his career on the hard courts of Indian Wells to reach the quarterfinals on the red clay of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Fritz earned his spot in the last eight on Thursday by beating compatriot and Monte-Carlo doubles partner Sebastian Korda 7-6(4), 7-5.

“I thought the match today was pretty good,” Fritz said. “I was looking out for his return. I think I did a good job serving, mixing up all my spots. I fought off his returns on my second serves, which was the main focus. It was really good conditions today, so I was able to play what I felt was my best match (of the week).”

The 24-year-old can climb to No. 3 in the race to Turin if he wins one more match next week. His next one will come against unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Marrakech champion David Goffin.

Fritz and Davidovich Fokina are part of what was once a loaded top half of the draw but has since become depleted. Davidovich Fokina upset Novak Djokovic on Tuesday before Miami winner Carlos Alcaraz lost his opening match to Sebastian Korda on Wednesday. The exodus continued on Thursday, when clay-court force and Miami runner-up Casper Ruud went down to Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-5.

Either Fritz, Davidovich Fokina, Dimitrov, or Hubert Hurkacz will eventually be in Sunday’s title match.

Grigor Dimitrov. Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Considering Ruud’s current form and clay-court prowess, that result was the most surprising of the day. Dimitrov delivered perhaps his best performance of the season, breaking the Norwegian four times and dropping his own serve just once to prevail after one hour and 32 minutes.

“I was really looking forward to the match,” the 30-year-old Bulgarian commented. “I knew if I did the right things, good things would come out of it. Casper is such a great player on whatever surface. He has proved it over and over again at such a young age, which is nice to see. I liked that matchup and wanted to see where I was physically and mentally. I just played and enjoyed the game.

“I felt like I was making the right decisions. You don’t have to make things more complicated. I was reading the game well, which helped me a lot. I made a lot of returns, which gave me an advantage to start points aggressively.”

Dimitrov won his only previous meeting with Hurkacz 7-6 in the third in the 2021 Indian Wells quarterfinals.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.