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With Indian Wells title defense looming, Fritz heats up by lifting Delray Beach trophy

With 1,000 ranking points to defending coming up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Taylor Fritz wants to stockpile as much confidence–and as many points–as possible in the buildup toward the season’s first Masters event.

Fritz accomplished that goal by taking the title at the Delray Beach Open on Sunday afternoon. The 25-year-old American held off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in a back-and-forth final that lasted one hour and 57 minutes.

After dishing out a bagel in the first set, Fritz had a chance to finish the job in straights. The world No. 7 got a look at championship point with his opponent serving at 4-5, 30-40, but Kecmanovic won a baseline rally to save it. Having also fought off two break points at 3-5, the 30th-ranked Serb was just barely staying alive but soon stole the set thanks to a break of his own at 5-5.

Fritz, however, was quick to restore order in the third. The top seed earned breaks at 2-1 and 5-2 to race away with the victory.

“(It was) my first time back here in quite a while and the event was amazing,” Fritz said during the trophy ceremony. “The fans especially, the turnout was incredible and it makes me really proud to be an American playing at a home event, with how many people were in the stands.”

Indian Wells next month will be a true home event for Fritz, who hails from Rancho Santa Fe, California. The biggest title of his fast-rising career came last year in Palm Springs, where he upset Rafael Nadal in the final. Fritz also reached the Indian Wells semis in the fall of 2021, so what was his favorite tournament to watch growing up is quickly becoming his favorite tournament in terms of results.

With momentum in hand, more success in the desert appears to be on the horizon for the California kid.

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