Rothesay International Eastbourne 2022: Taylor Fritz crowned champion for a second time upon return to Eastbourne
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The reigning Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz added his second title of the season to his list of accolades after defeating Maxime Cressy 6-2, 6(4)-7, 7-6(4) in an all-American battle.
The world No.14 has been on the rise since he posted his first ATP win here at Devonshire Park back in 2019. Since, not only did he claim America’s No.1 spot at the tail end of last year, but he also became the first American to win Indian Wells men’s singles title since Andre Agassi in 2001.
Speaking after his second win at Devonshire Park, the two-time champion shared his thoughts and emotions.
“It’s where I won my first title and when I got here, I already felt like I was playing so much better than I was before just being here. This place always has a special spot in my heart.
“Thank you to the fans who have been incredible all week. This is such an amazing tournament and a lot of it is to do with how great the turnout is.”
Reaping the rewards; Fritz has developed a taste for winning as he etches his name in Eastbourne’s decorated list of champions for a second time.
The former champion took the early advantage on centre court as he chipped away at his fellow countryman’s niche serve and volley service style to go up a break. Getting a good read on Cressy’s unique style early doors, the American No.1 sought out a cushioning double break to apply the heat on his opponent. With the double break now in hand, and as Cressy’s energy levels melted away, a linear shot from Fritz set the tone for the rest of the match as he blitzed the opening set 6-2.
A reboot required from Cressy in the second; the world No.60 succeeded where he failed in the opening set with a hold to kick things off. Fritz – having never encountered an out-and-out serving volleyer before – continued to play confidently as Cressy’s serve progressively grew more clinical, with 17 of 21 of his first serves converted. As both sides stayed on course throughout the second set, Fritz experienced somewhat of a déjà vu following his semi-final clash as his fellow American called for a final shootout after leaving the third seed with no angle to work with in the deciding tiebreak.
Two costly consecutive double faults in the third gifted Fritz with a golden opportunity, but the 24-year-old was unable to poach the break as countryman Crissy hung on to another crucial hold. As Cressy dialled into his No.1 weapon and Fritz remained unbroken, a final set breaker loomed as they raced to the finish line. The former champion was the first to strike as he went up a mini break to lead the tiebreaker 4-1, and following the longest, nail-biting rally of the match, the third seed earned three championship points to firmly close the door on what was a titanic three-set tussle.
Reflecting on his scintillating showdown against the French/American, Fritz had only positive words on both his and his opponents performances.
“I played about as well as I could possibly play today and it still came down to the final couple of points, so couldn’t have been much closer."
On the eve of Wimbledon, the newly crowned Rothesay International Eastbourne champion believes he has a new-found confidence after returning to Devonshire Park, something that he will leverage to the max as he enters this year’s Wimbledon main draw.
“I’m a really confident base player, so it feels great to have this confidence. I played really well week and – going into Wimbledon – I feel good.”