Alexander Zverev was unable to add a third Masters 1000 title to his trophy cabinet in 2021 after losing to Taylor Fritz in Indian Wells. The German led 5-2 in the deciding set of the quarter-final but failed to convert his two match points, allowing Taylor Fritz to defeat the world number four 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. Zverev, who has already won two Masters titles this year in Cincinnati and Madrid, would have been encouraged by Stefanos Tsitsipas’ earlier loss to Nikoloz Basilashvili, but he was unable to take advantage of the open draw.
“Today was just not really my day, to be honest. I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not quite there for me,” Zverev told reporters after the match.
“Today mentally is not easy for me. My next tournament is (in) Vienna. Hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home. It was a very long season. I have played well. But this one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn’t there yet,” the German tennis player added.
Zverev came into the match in good form, having won 20 of his last 21 hard-court matches, including a stunning Olympic gold medal in Tokyo earlier this summer.
However, Fritz’s breakout run continued on Friday at the BNP Paribas Open, where he saved two match points to win his second Top 5 match of the season and advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. The American came back from a 2-5 deficit in the decider, saving two match points at 3-5, 30/40 and 4-5, 30/40, to upset Zverev after two hours and 22 minutes in Indian Wells.
“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it,” Fritz said in his on-court interview.
“I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match. Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on.”
The 31st seed, who defeated Nitto ATP Finals hopefuls Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner in straight sets en route to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final, played aggressive tennis against Zverev, firing 36 winners to advance. Fritz now trails Zverev 2-3 in their ATP Head2Head series and will face Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final four after the Georgian defeated second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in his first Masters 1000 semi-final.
“The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game,” Fritz said.
“Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure. It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true,” the American added.