World No. 13 Taylor Fritz admitted he was a bit worried about his ankle going into his Miami opener but he was glad that he was able to go out and claim a win. Fritz, seeded at No. 11, had a first round bye in Miami before he defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 5-7 6-3 to progress into the third round.
Fritz broke Kukushkin in the second game of the match and held on to his serve the rest of the set to win the opener. In the second set, no breaks were seen until the 12th game, when Kukushkin broke Fritz to force a decider.
Fritz responded well to losing the second set as he broke Kukushkin two times in the third set to escape with a three-set win. "Physically it was really good," Fritz said after the match, per the ATP Tour website.
"I was a little worried about my ankle. I have been definitely kind of holding back in practice the last couple of days, kind of just went once a day, took it easy. "Honestly, today it felt great and I'm super happy with my tennis, the whole three sets.
Even the set I lost I thought I played well. He was honestly too good when he was beating me. It was a really tough match. [I'm] happy to get through it."
Fritz plays Tommy Paul next
Fritz and Paul have played twice on the ATP Tour level and the record between the two stands at 1-1.
"I think the conditions here are good for him," Fritz said of Paul. "He's probably one of the best movers on tour. These are very slow courts, [it is] very tough to put the ball away here. "He's going to be coming to net quite a bit and it's never easy playing one of your best friends.
But in the past, I have done well when playing my friends. It's going to be a really tough match because he's playing well."