Wimbledon 2023: Fritz, Shelton win five-setters as 10 Americans advance on Day 3
After rain interrupted play on Day 2, a wild Wednesday at Wimbledon saw 10 American winners, including five-set victories for Taylor Fritz and Ben Shelton.
Other men's singles winners on Day 3 included Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Marcos Giron and Christopher Eubanks, with both Shelton and Eubanks victorious in their main-draw debuts at the grass-court Grand Slam.
On the women's side, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Danielle Collins and Madison Brengle all notched straight-sets wins.
The ninth-seeded Fritz was locked in a final set against Germany's Yannick Hanfmann when the pair left the court due to darkness on Monday evening. They finally resumed play on Wednesday, with Fritz snatching a quick break en route to a 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win.
"It is great. I am going to have to come back and play tomorrow. It rained all day yesterday and off and on today, so I really just wanted to get on court and play," said Fritz, who will next face Sweden's Mikael Ymer in the second round. "I am glad I can just focus on the next match."
Fritz is seeking a return to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second straight year. He led Rafael Nadal, two sets to one, in that round last season before the Spaniard battled back to win in five.
Later in the day, Ben Shelton survived a fightback from Japan's Taro Daniel to advance with a 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 result. The No. 32 seed — who is now coached full-time by his father, Bryan Shelton, with whom he won an NCAA team and individual singles title at the University of Florida — fired 22 aces in the victory and showed great mental composure to hold off his opponent's late charge.
Shelton showcased his athleticism throughout the match, but never more so than in the final set when he managed an incredible half-volley drop shot winner while losing his footing on the turf.
"So cheeky," he wrote in Twitter in reply to a video of the highlight-reel moment.
Joining the 20-year-old with a debut win was Eubanks. The Atlanta native backed up his first ATP Tour title, won this weekend in Mallorca, with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 victory against Thiago Monteiro.
The three other American winners all advanced in straight sets on Wednesday: 10th seed Tiafoe defeated Wu Yibing, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4; 16th seed Paul downed Shintaro Mochizuki, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; and Marcos Giron beat Hugo Dellien, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4.
Fritz, Tiafoe, Paul and Giron will all return to the court on Thursday for their second-round matchups. Tiafoe will meet Dominic Stricker, Paul will play Milos Raonic and Giron will face Marton Fucsovics.
Like Eubanks, Keys also entered Wimbledon on the back of a tour-level grass title. The 25th seed won her second Eastbourne crown on Saturday and carried that momentum into London for a 6-0, 6-3 decision against Great Britain's Sonay Kartal.
None of the four victorious American women lost more than four game in a set on Wednesday. Sloane Stephens beat Rebecca Paterson, 6-2, 6-4; Danielle Collins edged Julia Grabher, 6-4, 6-4; and Madison Brengle was a 6-3, 6-1 winner against Sara Errani.
Both Stephens and Collins will return to action on Thursday without a rest day. Stephens will meet 20th seed Donna Vekic on No. 1 Court, followed by fourth seed Jessica Pegula's matchup against Cristina Bucsa. Collins will face 14th seed Belinda Bencic on No. 2 Court.