MEMPHIS, February 13, 2016
Two rising stars joined two former champions to headline quarterfinals action on Friday in the Memphis Open.
18-year-old Taylor Fritz led off play on Stadium Court of the Racquet Club when he gained another exceptional win. Appearing in the stage of the final eight for the first time on the ATP World Tour, the US-American wild card defeated 16 years older Benjamin Becker 6-4, 5-7, 7-6. Fritz hit 13 aces and broke the German’s service five times, which was particularly important in the 12th game of the final set when Becker was serving for the match. Fritz eventually closed the match in the tie-break after two hours and 20 minutes.
“It’s incredible, I can’t believe it,” Fritz said. “To come back in that way, with him serving for the match, I’ll never forget that. I told myself that the balls were worn out, and that I just had to make him play. I tried to make him beat me under pressure.”
Fritz will now face Ricardas Berankis. The 25-year-old Lithuanian knocked off third seed Donald Young 7-6, 6-1 to reach his first semi-finals of the season. Berankis won 56% of the total points and capitalized on three of his five break point chances to gain his second win over the US-American in their second tour meeting after one hour and 20 minutes.
“I’m very happy to be in my second ATP semi-final,” Berankis said. “Maybe it wasn’t Young’s best day today. He didn’t really have a plan B and thought I would put myself in trouble with fast shots and mistakes, but it didn’t work out for him.”
Top-seed and three time defending champion Kei Nishikori remains unstoppable, extending his winning streak in Memphis to 15. The 26-year-old Japanese ousted Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-4. Nishikori smashed seven aces and saved all five break points he faced, converting three of his own to prevail in one hour and 31 minutes.
He will next take on Memphis’ 2010 champion Sam Querrey, who denied an-all-Japanese-semi-final by winning 6-3, 6-4 over 20-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka. The fourth seed from Las Vegas sent down 11 aces and won 76% of his first service points to seal victory in one hour and 12 minutes.