ATP Auckland: Fritz edges Isner. Norrie, Fognini and Kohlschreiber reach QF



by JOVICA ILIC

ATP Auckland: Fritz edges Isner. Norrie, Fognini and Kohlschreiber reach QF

The four-time ASB Classic champion and a former world no. 3 David Ferrer has played his last match in Auckland, retiring against the 4th seed and compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta already in the middle of the third game due to a right calf injury.

David tried to play but he decided to retire after he barely managed to move, receiving the special present in the post-match presentation after being one of the most successful players here, winning 32 matches in Auckland after the first appearance in 2003.

Another multiple Auckland champion John Isner has failed to reach the quarters, suffering a tight 7-6, 7-6 loss against the young compatriot Taylor Fritz in an hour and 39 minutes for his fourth failure in the last six matches at the ASB Classic!

This was their first meeting, the first since Wimbledon 2017 and the first triumph for the youngster who secured his second top-10 win after prevailing in both tie breaks, winning the same amount of points as John but having the upper hand when it mattered the most.

Taylor saved a break point already in the second game with a service winner and he converted the third break chance in the fifth game, moving 3-2 up when John sprayed a forehand error. The big American pulled the break back instantly with a forehand winner at the net after a well-constructed attack, with both players serving well in the remaining six games to set up a tie break where Taylor forged the lead with a mini-break in the very first point.

He won all five points on serve with a winner, scoring another mini-break at 5-3 before closing the breaker and the set in the 10th point with an unreturned serve. Isner had the opportunity to change the course of the match when he created two break points in the third game of the second set but Fritz saved them to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard, with no more chances for the returners in the rest of the set before they set another tie break, a must-win one for John.

Taylor grabbed the first advantage after a short backhand cross court winner in the third point but Isner pulled it back with a strong forehand attack in the eighth point for a 4-4. Nonetheless, Fritz secured another mini-break with a deep return at 5-4 and he sealed the deal when John sprayed a backhand error in the 12th point to prevail in straight sets and reach the last eight.

2008 Auckland champion Philipp Kohlschreiber is through to the quarter-final as well following a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over the young French qualifier Ugo Humbert in an hour and 12 minutes after one of his best serving performances ever!

The German lost just three points on serve in the entire match and Ugo couldn't match those numbers, facing eight break points and losing serve once in each set to end his run in the second round. Philipp made a flying start, breaking in the opening game of the match and rattling off three straight holds at love for a 5-3 lead and two set points on the return at 5-3.

Humbert saved them to bring the game home and prolong the set but Kohlschreiber secured it with a forehand winner in the following game for a 6-4. Just like in the opener, the German broke at 15 at the start of the second set following a backhand error from the 20-year-old and this was all he needed to seal the deal, winning 19 straight points on serve for a mighty impressive win, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the tournament as well.

The Briton Cameron Norrie grew up in New Zealand and he received the main draw wild card that he has been using perfectly up to this point, beating Joao Sousa 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes after saving all six break points!

Sousa defeated Denis Shapovalov in the opening round and he fought well today as well, facing just one break point but failing to deliver his best tennis in the pivotal moments, in both the tie break or at break points. The Portuguese was the better player in most of the opening set but he couldn't capitalize on that, wasting two break points in game five and three two games later to keep Cameron on the positive side of the scoreboard.

The Briton won the tie break 7-5 after a service winner and he saved a break point in the second game of the second set before he moved in front with a crucial break in the game that followed. With the advantage on his side, Cameron served well and he completed the win with a forehand winner in game 10 for his sixth ATP quarter-final.

The 2nd seed Fabio Fognini was two points away from defeat against Peter Gojowczyk, trailing 4-3 with a break in the deciding set before ousting the German 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 in just over two hours to continue his title hunt, setting the quarter-final clash against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Thursday. Second round results:

Taylor Fritz (USA) vs [1]John Isner (USA) 7-6(3) 7-6(5)
[WC]Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs Joao Sousa (POR) 7-6(5) 6-4
[4]Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [WC]David Ferrer (ESP) 1-1 Ret.
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) vs Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3
Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs [3]Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-3 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [Q]Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4 6-4
[2]Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-2 3-6 7-6(5)
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) vs [WC]Rubin Statham (NZL) 6-2 6-1
Atp Auckland David Ferrer Carreno Busta