American player Taylor Fritz ousts third seed Alexander Zverev, will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who knocked out Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier on Friday, for a place in the final.
He hit twice the number of unforced errors than Zverev (12-6), though the numbers don’t reflect how tight the set was.
Back on court, Fritz raised his level to notch the second set 6-3 forcing a decider.
In his on-court interview, he commented: “I was really down and out, but I found a way to put myself into it. I really wanted to make him have to close me out, and I was able to get back into the match.”
In the final set, the World No. 39 saved two match points, moving on to win a tiebreak, on his way to one of the biggest triumphs of his career and on home soil at Tennis Paradise.
“Normally, you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tiebreak, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on,” Fritz added.
Zverev had managed to open an early advantage of 2-0 after winning a 20-shot rally, but the reaction from the other side of the net did not take long to arrive.
Even with Fritz down by 2-4, there was parity in the points between the two players (73 for each side).
The 24-year-old German, up by 5-3, served for the set, failing to close it as he hit two consecutive double faults in the process.
Zverev lost his serve, allowing the inspired Californian to keep his chances alive in the match as he continued to play his best tennis.
Precision and a powerful serve were decisive for the 31st seed to level up the set by 6-6 and play the tiebreak, with great confidence to edge the 17-time ATP titlist 7-6(3) for the delight of the local fans.
“It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing, and it is a dream come true,” Fritz said.
The number one American racquet struck 36 winners to Zverev’s 23 and 33 unforced errors to his rival’s 25, winning 82 percent of first-serve points to 75 percent from the Hamburg native.
The other semifinal will feature former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov against Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who comes from achieving his 45th win of the season after overcoming ranked No. 15 Diego Schwartzman.
Fritz leads World No. 29 Nikoloz Basilashvili 2-1 in their H2H series.