The 2016 Memphis Open runner-up almost bowed out in the first round on Tuesday. And he probably should have.
Instead, Taylor Fritz saved three match points to overcome Yen-Hsun Lu 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(7) in two hours and nine minutes on Tuesday night. Fritz, who finished with 99 total points to Lu’s 112, battle back from a 5-2 deficit in the final-set tiebreaker and fought off match points at 6-4, 6-5 (on his opponent’s serve), and 7-6.
“It was tough,” the 19-year-old American assured. “I was just thinking, ‘don’t think about it.’ These are the moments I play for–these pressure moments. They’re my favorite things about the sport. One of [the match points] he was just pounding the forehands and I was just like thinking during the point one of these he’s just going to finish me. Sometimes you just find a way and you can’t explain it.”
Fritz is joined in the Memphis second round by countrymen Tim Smyczek and Ryan Harrison. Smyczek took down fellow American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, while Harrison set up an all-American showdown against Sam Querrey by beating Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 7-5.
Harrison recovered from an early break down in the second set before finishing off Kravchuk in one hour and 25 minutes.
“First set was pretty straightforward,” the world No. 62 noted. “My first-serve percentage was high. I hit a lot of aces and felt like I was controlling the tempo. It kind of changed in the second–actually when I was serving out the first set I threw in two double-faults and that sparked a little bit of momentum for him.
“Previous to that he had no real look at my serve. Unfortunately that led to him being more confident and me having a bit lower energy at the start of the second set.”