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Fritz flies American flag into Wimbledon quarterfinals, awaits showdown with Nadal

Taylor Fritz reacting on day eight of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Monday July 4, 2022. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

In what will go down as the best Wimbledon for American men since the Andy Roddick era, only one is left standing in the quarterfinals.

And it’s the one you would expect: Taylor Fritz.

This may be Fritz’s first trip to the last eight at the All-England Club, but it certainly comes as no surprise–especially considering the field is with world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, world No. 2 Alexander Zverev, and other banned Russian and Belarusian players. On his own account, Fritz has been one of the best players on tour this season–with his biggest-ever title at the Indian Wells Masters and his second triumph on the grass courts of Eastbourne.

The 24-year-old’s Eastbourne success armed him with a ton of confidence heading into the All-England Club and he most definitely has not looked back. Fritz punched his ticket to the quarters by erasing Lorenzo Musetti, Alastair Gray, Alex Molcan, and Jason Kubler all in straight sets. The 11th seed is the only player in the field who has not dropped a set; in fact, everyone else has lost at least two.

“It’s amazing,” Fritz said of his first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance after cruising past Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Monday. “(The) first time obviously feels great…. All the hard work I’ve been putting in, all the things I’ve been doing, it’s paying off. It feels amazing; doesn’t even seem real. I’m in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

“Things like this I’ve kind of worked for my whole life. It’s great to kind of soak it in and feel like everything’s kind of…the work’s paying off and I’m moving in the right direction.”

Now the question is if Fritz can move all the way into the semis.

Taylor Fritz of the US celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men’s final match of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 20 March 2022. The tournament runs from 07 through 20 March 2022. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

Speaking of that Indian Wells title a few months ago, the world No. 14 took down Rafael Nadal in the final. Now it will be none other than Nadal on the other side of the net in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The reigning Australian Open and French Open champion also advanced in straight sets on Monday, defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6).

“I think it makes the occasion bigger,” Fritz said of facing Nadal. “I’ve been this whole tournament playing people that I guess on paper I guess I’m supposed to beat. That’s honestly always tough because it’s tougher to play those matches than to play the ones where maybe you’re not the favorite. You can be a lot more free. I know I’m going to have to bring a certain level. Just knowing that I will have to play a certain level, I know that I will play better.

“It’s going to be a [much] different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think [we are] getting healthier versions of both of us.

“It will be a really fun match. I want to play him. I think that he probably really wants to beat me after Indian Wells. It will be really exciting.”

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