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HomeSportTaylor Fritz beats Alexander Zverev at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic takes on the...

Taylor Fritz beats Alexander Zverev at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic takes on the crowd


AP photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy
Taylor Fritz of the United States reacts during his fourth round match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 8, 2024.

LONDON (AP) — After Taylor Fritz hit a backhand that Alexander Zverev didn’t even chase down to end the American’s comeback from two sets down in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday, the men met at the net for what turned out to be a longer-than-usual chat.

Zverev, playing with a bone bruise in his right knee, said he was bothered by the cheers coming from Fritz’s guest box in the fifth set. When Fritz started to walk away, Zverev blocked the way with his chest and continued the largely one-sided exchange.

It wasn’t the only notable interaction from the 13th-seeded Fritz after the match at the All England Club this fortnight – he told an earlier opponent to “have a nice flight home” – but he shrugged off the episode, more interested in the way he had turned the tide to beat two-time Grand Slam finalist Zverev 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals.

“It was amazing,” said Fritz, a 26-year-old from California, “to do that on Centre Court (at) Wimbledon, trailing by two sets.”

Zverev later said his problem was not with Fritz or his two coaches, but rather with others in the winner’s support group, “who may not come from the tennis world, who may not be (used to) watching every match; they were a bit over the top.”

“He’s absolutely allowed to be annoyed when they’re being annoying. … That’s one of the things I asked him on the net, ‘Who was it?'” said Fritz, who now faces 25th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti, a debuting Grand Slam quarterfinalist. “It’s not that big of a deal. It’s all good.”

Zverev suggested the entourage need not have been so excited as his knee, covered in a grey sleeve after a fall in the previous round, was such a major factor in Monday’s outcome.

“I was playing on one leg,” Zverev said. “It was pretty clear that I wasn’t 100 percent today, right? I wasn’t moving, basically, the whole match. I wasn’t running for drop shots. When I was running for a drop shot, I was limping more than running.”

The three-and-a-half-hour match, played with the main stadium’s retractable roof closed, was the 35th five-set match at Wimbledon this year, tying the record for most sets won at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era, which began in 1968. Fritz’s comeback is the 11th from two sets down at this year’s grass-court tournament, more than in any other year.

This is Fritz’s fourth quarter-final at a major tournament and his second at Wimbledon, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in 2022. He is 0-3 at that point; the other two upsets came against Novak Djokovic.

“This will be my first quarter-final where I am the most experienced person,” said Fritz.

Fritz joins good friend Tommy Paul in the last eight, giving the United States its first two men this far in the tournament since 2000. The other quarterfinal in the lower half of the men’s draw pits No. 9 Alex de Minaur against seven-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic, who defeated No. 15 Holger Rune 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in Monday night’s final match on Centre Court.


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AP photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy
Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during an interview after defeating Holger Rune of Denmark in their fourth round match at the Wimbledon tennis championship in London, Monday, July 8, 2024.

Spectators often made loud noises that sounded like “Ruuuuune” — the young Dane is often greeted this way during matches — but Djokovic thought the people in the stands were saying “Booooo,” and he let them know he wasn’t happy about it.

Musetti gave Italy its first three singles quarterfinalists at a major — he achieved that with No. 1 Jannik Sinner in the men’s pool; No. 7 Jasmine Paolini remains in the women’s field — by beating Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. De Minaur eliminated Arthur Fils 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Winners in the fourth round of the women’s matches included 2022 champion Elena Rybakina, 21st-seeded Elina Svitolina — who wore a black ribbon on her shirt to mourn the victims of Russian missile attacks on her native Ukraine — and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Rybakina will face Svitolina in the quarterfinals, with Ostapenko’s next opponent being 2021 French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova.

Rybakina moved on when No. 17 Anna Kalinskaya retired from play due to a wrist injury, Svitolina defeated Wang Xinyu 6-2, 6-1, Krejcikova defeated No. 11 Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-3 and Ostapenko won 6-2, 6-3 over Yulia Putintseva, who defeated No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the third round.

The fourth-seeded Zverev finished runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open last month — after squandering a 2-1 sets lead. Zverev also lost in the 2020 US Open final to Dominic Thiem — after squandering a two-set lead and a match point.

The German entered Monday’s match having won all nine sets he played at Wimbledon this year and with a 41-all service game lead, having not faced a single break point since the first round.

So the key statistic was this: Fritz collected four break points and converted two of them – once in the third set and once in the fifth – while being broken only once himself.

Fritz hit 15 aces, without double faults, and together they made 124 winning errors (69 by Fritz) and 56 unforced errors (23 by Fritz).

He is now 10-1 on grass in 2024 and is on a winning streak of eight matches in a row, including a title at a practice tournament in Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon kicked off.

“What I like most about grass,” Fritz said, “is that if you hit a good shot, you get rewarded for it.

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