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2023 Indian Wells: Tiafoe, Fritz, Gauff charge into QFs
After a wild Tuesday in Indian Wells, with the entirety of the fourth-round singles slate on the schedule, three Americans emerged from the madness with quarterfinal berths across the men's and women's draws.
Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Coco Gauff all advanced, while valiant efforts from Jessica Pegula and Tommy Paul ended in heartbreak after third-set tiebreaks. With Tiafoe and defending champion Fritz on opposite sides of the draw, an all-American men's singles final could still be in the cards.
Tiafoe earned his 150th tour-level win as he continued to storm through the BNP Paribas Open field. The No. 14 seed scored his third straight-sets victory of the tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 result against Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.
After a fast start by his opponent, Tiafoe saved a pair of break points at 0-3 to turn the tide of the match. He rattled off five straight games on his way to the opening set, then finished the job in set two with a gutsy hold, erasing two more break chances.
"That 3-0 hold was huge," Tiafoe said. "That loosened me up. I played a great return game after that and I just took my level up to a whole other level and he wasn't able to match. At the end it got pretty breezy there, so it was tough to close it out, but other than that, after that 3-0 game I thought it was one-way traffic."
The 25-year-old will next face Great Britain's Cameron Norrie on Wednesday, seeking revenge after the Briton won their only previous meeting two years ago in Delray Beach.
Fritz also advanced in straight sets, though he faced a stern challenge from Hungary's Marton Fucsovics. One of the key moments in his hard-fought 6-4, 6-3 victory came when he used a trick serve to help him close out a 22-point game and secure a 3-0 lead in set two.
Running out of ideas in the marathon game, Fritz delivered a "reverse serve" that came off his racquet with lefty spin: "I just got to the point where I was like, 'Nothing else is working so I might as well just do my reverse serve, and maybe that will.'" he explained. "I ended up winning the point, so I guess it worked out."
Next up in his title defense is a showdown with 11th-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner on Thursday.
On the women' s side, Gauff extended her career-best Indian Wells run with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 result against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson. The American, who turned 19 on Monday, battled back from 2-4 in the final set and saved three break points at 4-4 for the gutsy win.
Read more on USOpen.org: 'I'm living my dream': Gauff reflects on 19th birthday
"Today, it was just a mental thing, staying in the match," Gauff said of her late heroics. "I wasn't playing my best in some moments and wasn't serving as well as I'd like to, but I think my mentality kept me in today.
"[The crowd] helped me, were cheering for me even after the second set, were rooting for me every step of the way."
It won't get any easier in the quarterfinals, with the sixth seed set to take on reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday afternoon.
Gauff's doubles partner Pegula nearly joined her in the last eight, but the third seed was turned back in dramatic fashion by two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova. The Czech saved four match points in a thrilling 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(11) win, edging the American No. 1 in a back-and-forth thriller.
Tommy Paul saw six match points go begging in an equally upsetting defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime, with the Canadian escaping, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(8), just before midnight in the California desert.
In addition to the singles matches for Tiafoe and Gauff on Wednesday's schedule, the day's action will also see defending and two-time men's doubles champions John Isner and Jack Sock take the court for their quarterfinal matchup against Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli.
Caty McNally will also compete alongside Poland's Magda Linette in the women's doubles quarters, with the pair set to play the Japanese team of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama.
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