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Taylor Fritz wins in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi next up on exhibition swing

It’s exhibition season for a couple more weeks on the ATP Tour and Taylor Fritz won a big one this past week. Fritz triumphed at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia, where he was joined in an impressive field by Daniil Mevedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Cameron Norrie, Alexander Zverev, Hubert Hurkacz, Nick Kyrgios, Matteo Berrettini, Dominic Thiem, and Dominic Stricker.

The ninth-ranked American got past Hurkacz in the quarterfinals and Norrie in the semis before beating Medvedev 7-6, 7-6 to take the title.

“Last time we played, he won,” Fritz said, reflecting on his 7-6(1), 6-3 loss to Medvedev at the Cincinnati Masters this summer. “He told me I was the better player in the first set and it’s kind of reversed this time. It was a really tough match. He was in control; he had all the chances. Every time he had a break point I played really well and always kind of came up with what I needed to. And then I played well in the tiebreakers and the big points, so I was then able to steal it away from him.

“I’m super happy whenever I get these kinds of wins, because I played the big points really well,” added the 25-year-old, who prevailed after one hour and 50 minutes in a match that had zero breaks of serve. “I want to thank all the sponsors that made this event possible. It’s a really great event. The field speaks for itself. You have all the best players in the world coming here. I felt the support from the fans all week; I felt the love. It was a great four, five days here and I hope to be back.”

Medvedev had knocked off Zverev and Wawrinka earlier in the event, both in routine straight sets.

“I think I played better [in the final] than when I played against Zverev, but that’s how tennis goes,” said Medvedev, who won the previous edition of the Diriyah Tennis Cup in 2019. “It was a great game against Taylor.

“It’s a great tournament. My second time and I feel very welcome coming here and I will be happy to come back many times. It was a great atmosphere from the first match. [The final] was the biggest crowd I’ve seen here in the two years.”

Tsitsipas, Rublev, and Norrie will also be participating in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

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