Taylor Fritz won Saturday’s semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open with a 7-5,6-4 win over Andrey Rublev to end his 13-match winning streak.
Fritz will face Rafael Nadal (18 years old) or Carlos Alcaraz (18 years old), in Sunday’s final. They met in the semifinal. Fritz, seeded 20th in the final, is the first American man to reach the final since John Isner 2012. Andre Agassi was the last American to win Indian Wells 2001.
Rublev was seeded seventh and had won 13 consecutive matches, including back-toback titles in Marseille and Dubai.
Fritz stood out in front of a cheering crowd at the tournament, where he has been attending since he was a child from San Diego. Fritz served a love match to open the match, then quickly broke Rublev for a 3-0 lead.
Fritz held at love to win 4-1. Fritz had the chance to serve the first set at 5-2 but the Russian won the third and fourth games to tie the match, 5-5.
Fritz led 6-5 with an 112-mph ace. After a seven-deuce match, Fritz broke Rublev to win the set.
The Russian responded by striking a ball in the sky and repeatedly hitting his racket strings using his right fist. Rublev required a medical break before the start to the second set in order to treat a bleeding hand.
Fritz won the second set with a huge hold at 5-4. He then fired an ace down T after fighting off two breakpoints. They served until the 10th match.
Fritz got his first match point when Rublev saved eight break points. However, he missed a forehand volley that was right in front of the net. Fritz smashed Rublev’s serve for the pivotal break.
Fritz hugged Rublev at the net. They have been friends since their junior ranks. Fritz beat Rublev in three of their four meetings.