Taylor Fritz jumped out to an early lead Thursday against Wu Yibing and never looked back to reach the quarter-finals of the Atlanta Open.
The top seed relied on his hefty service delivery in key moments to defeat Wu 6-4, 7-6(5) after one hour, 30 minutes. Fritz started fast, gaining a 4-0 lead to kick off the evening session in Atlantic Station and won 81 per cent of his first-serve points to advance.
"Just a couple points here and there. I had some break chances, he had some break chances," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "It could have gone either way, I kind of just barely got out of the points I needed to win."
In the second set, the California-native saved two set points at 4-5. Fritz then fired three consecutive aces from 30/40 to close the game and later closed the match in a second-set tie-break.
The 25-year-old Fritz avenged this year’s Dallas Open semi-final loss to Wu, who was eventually crowned champion at the ATP 250 for his maiden tour-level title. Their Lexus ATPHead2Head series is now tied at 1-1.
Fritz, who is World No. 9 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, is chasing his second tour-level trophy of the season, having lifted his fifth ATP Tour crown in Delray Beach in February. He will next meet former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori, who ousted Shang Juncheng 6-4, 7-6(3). Fritz will aim for his maiden Lexus ATPHead2Head win against the Japanese star (0-3).
In other Atlanta action, German Dominik Koepfer mounted a comeback to down third seed Daniel Evans 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4. World No. 88 Koepfer saved three match points from 3-5, 0/40 in the second set and then broke Evans' serve when the Brit served for a quarter-final spot the ensuing game. The 33-year-old Evans is on a seven-match skid at tour-level.
Koepfer will next meet eighth seed J.J. Wolf, who downed countryman Maxime Cressy 7-6(7), 6-3 to book his ticket to the last eight. Wolf saved a set point at 6/7 in the opening-set tie-break before tallying three consecutive points. World No. 46 Wolf is into his fourth quarter-final of the season.