Taylor Fritz was once considered one of the most promising NextGen prospects on the ATP tour. After failing to make the inaugural ATP NextGen finals in 2017, the American is already off to a good start after winning the Newport Beach Challenger and defeating fellow American Bradley Klahn in the final.
You can make the argument that Taylor Fritz’s biggest issue was having success too fast on tour. In 2016 Fritz reached the final in Memphis–becoming the youngest American to reach an ATP final since Michael Chang in 1988. Even though he was unable to win the final over Kei Nishikori, expectations were placed on him too quickly. Missing the entire clay court swing in 2017 due to a nagging knee injury didn’t help either.
Fritz entered the 2018 season ranked just outside the top 100, after which he reached the final in New Caledonia, and won the title in Newport Beach. The best result of Fritz’s 2017 season was a finals appearance at the Dallas Challenger. After losing in the finals to Ryan Harrison, he’ll look to do one better this week. The field in Dallas is headlined by former Top 5 player Kei Nishikori who recorded the first win of his season on Monday. Fritz defeated Spaniard Inigo Cervantes in three sets, and will now face last week’s Newport Beach runner-up Bradley Klahn in the second round. If he plays the way he did last week, I’d expect him to make another deep run on the indoor courts in Dallas.
This part of the season is crucial for the 20-year-old American. We haven’t seen anything from him yet outside of hardcourts that would make you believe he’s a contender on another surface. Right now at #76 in the world, a successful couple weeks at the inaugural New York Open and Delray Beach Open would be huge heading into Indian Wells and Miami as he tries to crack the top 50 for the first time in his young career.
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