Fritz 1st U.S. man into Indian Wells final since ’12

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Taylor Fritz ended Andrey Rublev’s 13-match winning streak with a 7-5, 6-4 victory Saturday in the BNP Paribas Open semifinals.

Fritz advanced to the final Sunday against either Rafael Nadal or 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who met in the other semifinal. Seeded 20th, Fritz is the first American man to make the final since John Isner in 2012. Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Indian Wells in 2001.

Seeded seventh, Rublev had won 13 consecutive matches since Feb. 14, including back-to-back titles at Marseille and Dubai.

Fritz came out strongly in front of a supportive crowd at the tournament where he’s been coming since he was a kid from his home near San Diego. He served a love game to open the match and then promptly broke Rublev and held again for a 3-0 lead.

Fritz held at love to go up 4-1. He had a chance to serve out the first set leading 5-2, but the Russian won the next three games to tie it, 5-all.

Fritz took a 6-5 lead with a 112-mph ace. He broke the big-hitting Rublev after a seven-deuce game to take the set.

The Russian reacted by hitting a ball into the sky and repeatedly punching his racket strings with his right fist. Rublev needed a medical timeout before the start of the second set to tend to a bloodied hand.

In the second set, Fritz came up with a big hold at 5-4, firing an ace down the T after fighting off two break points. The men stayed on serve until the 10th game.

Rublev saved eight of the 11 break points he faced, but he missed an easy forehand volley on top of the net to give Fritz his first match point. Fritz bashed a return of Rublev’s serve to take the pivotal break and the match.

Rublev hugged Fritz at the net. They’ve known each other since the junior ranks, where Rublev beat Fritz in three of their four meetings.

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