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Fritz defeats Auger-Aliassime to set up Turin semifinal meeting with Djokovic

Taylor Fritz needed a withdrawal from Carlos Alcaraz to make his way into the prestigious field of eight at the Nitto ATP Finals.

It’s safe to say he deserved his spot.

The American became the third man to book a place in the semifinals when he held off Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 in what was effectively a quarterfinal match on Thursday night in Turin. Fritz triumphed after two hours and 44 minutes to set up a semifinal showdown against Novak Djokovic.

“I needed to serve well the whole time,” the world No. 9 said. “It was frustrating throughout the match having so many points where I was one away from break point; so many 15-30, 30-30, 0-30 (chances) returning. I got myself into the rallies and kept losing the points. It was one of those matches where I just had to stay patient, not get too frustrated, and just capitalize when I got the chances.”

Fritz’s patience finally paid off midway through the third set. After two and a half hours of neither man generating a single break point, Fritz got a look at long last with Auger-Aliassime serving at 2-3 in the decider. When Fritz converted on an errant forehand by the sixth-ranked Canadian, he was off the races. A second consecutive break at 5-2 wrapped things up in style for the Indian Wells champion.

“It’s huge,” Fritz assured. “To go from not even qualifying to now being in the semis. I felt like I was going to play well here; I feel like I always play my best tennis against the best players. I’m super happy to be moving on.”

He finished round-robin competition in the Green Group with a 2-1 record. Casper Ruud also went 2-1 and earned the top seed out of the quartet based on his head-to-head win over Fritz. Both Auger-Aliassime and Nadal compiled 1-2 records.

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