Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Monday, 08 July 2024 22:11

Taylor Fritz fights back from two sets down to stun Alexander Zverev.

By Emily Salley and Michael Emons.

@APPhoto.

American Taylor Fritz produced a "dream" Wimbledon escape act by coming from two sets down to beat fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Fritz, the 13th seed, gained a 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory over his German opponent on Centre Court on Monday.

Zverev was aiming to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time and did not face a break point in the opening two sets.

But Fritz, 26, became the first player to break the Zverev serve at this tournament during the third set, before edging the fourth to move the match into a decider.

Zverev was wearing a support on his left knee after slipping in the late stages of his third-round win over Britain's Cameron Norrie, and as he faded a crucial break went the way of Fritz in the fourth game of the final set.

For Fritz, a second appearance in the last eight at Wimbledon awaits him, two years after he lost to Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller at that stage. It will be a fourth Grand Slam quarter-final in all for him, and he has yet to go further.

Zverev had been only two games away from victory in the third set but has now fallen at the last-16 stage of Wimbledon on three occasions after also doing the same in 2017 and 2021.

"It was amazing to do that on Centre Court, two sets down in front of this crowd. It's a dream," said Fritz, who gained only the third win of his career from being two sets behind.

"I still felt I was playing really well despite being down two sets. I was just thinking 'it sucked to be playing this well and to lose in straights'.

"It's a second time in the quarter-finals, but this time I felt I earned it a lot more so I'm really excited for the chance."

Musetti ends lucky loser's excellent run

Next for Fritz will be Lorenzo Musetti, who reached his first Slam quarter-final by surging past lucky loser Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard earlier in the day.

Italian 25th seed Musetti struggled against the big-serving Frenchman in the first set before adapting his approach to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-2.

Defeat ended an impressive run for Mpetshi Perricard, who was attempting to become the first lucky loser, man or woman, to reach the singles quarter-finals of a Grand Slam.

An emotional Musetti said after his victory: "It is a really phenomenal day for me."

Playing on his 21st birthday, Mpetshi Perricard entertained the court two crowd in the early stages with trick shots and huge serves.

He lost in the final round of qualifying before being handed a reprieve after withdrawals from the main draw, and then made eye-catching progress - until Musetti had too much for him.

The 22-year-old Musetti said: "I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid. I always had a really beautiful family that always supported me."

The win continues an impressive grass-court swing for Musetti, who was a runner-up to Tommy Paul at Queen's Club last month.

Australian Alex de Minaur, the ninth seed, booked his spot in the quarter-finals for the first time with a 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-3 win against France's Arthur Fils on Court One.