Jannik Sinner ended Taylor Fritz’s title defense in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif., as the 11th-seeded Italian prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Fritz, a 25-year-old Southern California native, was seeded fourth in his return to the desert after he beat Rafael Nadal in the final last year.
In the last quarterfinal match, top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain knocked off eighth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-4, 6-4.
Sinner will at minimum match the best result of his career in an ATP Masters 1000 event, as he got to the semifinals in Miami two years ago.
“It was tough match knowing that he likes the conditions here,” Sinner said. “He won here last year. I lost against him two years ago. I practiced with him a couple of times, and, you know, I knew a little bit what to expect, but still in the match is a little bit different.
“I’m very happy about the win today, so let’s see what’s coming next.”
Sinner got the only service break of the first set in the opening game, and Fritz got the lone service break of the second set in the final game.
Both players broke to open the third set, which then stayed on serve through 4-4. Sinner then registered the key break before serving out the match, which lasted 2 hours, 17 minutes.
“In the second set, he started to be a little bit more aggressive, especially on his return games, so it was tough to play,” Sinner said. “Also, the conditions were tough. Especially after it was a little bit more windy so it was not easy to play.
“But still, it was, I think, a good match from both of us. The level was high, but I think also in the third set I started to be a little bit more aggressive.”
Alcaraz improved his season record to 12-1 by downing Auger-Aliassime in exactly two hours.
Alcaraz saved three of the four break points he faced while finishing with an advantage in winners (26-24) and committing fewer unforced errors (13-8).
The youngest world No. 1 player in ATP Tour history, Alcaraz is seeking his third career Masters 1000 title after prevailing last year in Miami and Madrid.
“I feel great,” Alcaraz said. “It’s an amazing feeling to come back this year and make semifinal again, you know. Yeah, beating such a great player as Felix for the first time, so I’m really happy with my level, the way that I’m playing.”
The other semifinal on Saturday will feature fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia and 14th-seeded Frances Tiafoe of the United States.
–Field Level Media