Memphis Open, USA
[CR107] Benjamin Becker (GER) vs. [CR145] Taylor Fritz (USA)
Fritz is one of the young American players that has been talked about for a while and much is expected of him. He upset the number two seed, Steve Johnson, in straight sets. This was my second time watching him play. He has a huge serve, big forehand, and seemed pretty composed for a teenager in the spotlight. He won the first set, dropped the second and seemed to wilt a bit in the third. However, Fritz showed his mental toughness when he dug deep to break back and force a tiebreak. He still has some maturing to do, which will come with time; yet, I liked what I saw. I will be keeping an eye on him. Becker hoped Fritz would implode and was surprised when he did not. Fritz won 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(5) and gets to his first ATP Tour singles semifinals.
Argentina Open, Buenos Aires
[CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR52] Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)
Lorenzi, despite his age, is not a pushover; yet, this was not an impressive performance from Nadal. In their one previous encounter, Lorenzi won the first set before losing the match. He is the consummate clay court player, so Nadal, despite his stumble in the first, did well to win in straight sets. However, the question remains in everyone’s mind, is Nadal ever going to regain the form that saw him be a dominant force on the Tour? He struggled physically and mentally through this match against a player that really should not have been a threat. His 7-6(3), 6-2 victory sends him to the semifinals to meet a young player, Dominic Thiem, who could complicate things a bit for Nadal.
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Netherlands
[CR18] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. [CR70] Alexander Zverev (GER)
It was his chance to make it to his second consecutive semifinals; however, he ran into Monfils. When Monfils puts his mind to it, he can compete with the best and beat the best. Zverev just was not as sharp today as he was in recent matches. The long physical match against Gilles Simon caught up with him today and he was unable to take advantage of the numerous opportunities Monfils gave him. It was a more competitive first set than their last encounter and Zverev had numerous break opportunities in the second set to extend the match, but he could not capitalize. All in all it was a good performance from our spotlight player, who clearly was frustrated with his form by the end of the match. Monfils won 7-6(4), 6-3.