ATP

Fritz to break top 10 after emulating Sampras with Japan Open title triumph

By Sports Desk October 09, 2022

Taylor Fritz became the first American to win the Japan Open since Pete Sampras in 1996 after seeing off compatriot Frances Tiafoe with a victory that will take him into the top 10.

The 24-year-old beat Tiafoe in straight sets, though it was a tight affair as the match was decided via two tie-breaks, Fritz eventually triumphing 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) to clinch the ATP 500 event.

Nevertheless, Fritz looked the composed player for much of the contest as he created eight break chances to Tiafoe's three – though the latter managed to hang in for the most part.

The only breaks of serve came in back-to-back games early in the first set, with Tiafoe quickly hitting back before later holding off two set points to force a tie-break.

He would have been confident going into it after winning 13 successive singles tie-breaks prior to Sunday, but Fritz blew Tiafoe away in both, with the second coming at the end of a set in which neither player gave an inch.

A third tournament victory of 2022 ensures Fritz will break into the top 10 on Monday and provides a real boost to his hopes of qualifying for the end-of-season ATP Finals.

"Crazy, I don't even think it's set in just how fast the last four or five days have been," Fritz said afterwards.

"It's so crazy, and I couldn't have written it any better. It's exactly what I needed for the race [to Turin for the ATP Finals], for my ranking, to kind of put me in a good position for the end of the year, so it's amazing."

Fritz will be eighth in the world when the new rankings are released, making him the first American man to break the top 10 since Jack Sock did so in 2017.

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