Taylor Fritz, the No. 9-ranked player in the ATP World Tour and the top-ranked American, acknowledged that he was a bit frustrated throughout the week in early-morning practices.

Heading into Saturday’s semifinals match against J.J. Wolf, Fritz noted a difference.

“Much better,” Fritz said after Saturday’s 6-3, 7-5 win to advance to the final at 4 p.m. Sunday. “No broken rackets.”

Fritz, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, continued his dominance and didn’t lose a set in Saturday’s win, staying perfect for the duration of the 2023 Atlanta Open.



While Wolf, who Fritz faced for the first time on tour, battled to keep the match interesting, Fritz was able to focus on himself, eliminate frustrations and fend off a strong serve from Wolf to reach the Atlanta Open final for the second time in his career.

“We talked a lot this week about playing myself into the tournament and playing a bit better,” Fritz said. “Continue to play better each match. … Today was kind of the same deal, I came out and played a really good game to break him first game and then kind of just held on to my serve after that.”

Fritz’s coach, Michael Russell, who also has worked with World No. 10 Frances Tiafoe, kept it pretty simple when asked about Fritz’s performance Saturday.

“Don’t panic,” Russell said with a quick glance off to the side toward Fritz. “And you’ll be fine. Coming from Los Angeles, there’s different conditions, the ball goes through the air quick. It’s a little tougher to control, so it takes some time to get the muscle memory and hitting balls.”

Fritz and Wolf got underway in the afternoon by showcasing each of their strengths, a strong serve and an adept lateral movement.

In the first set, Fritz took an early advantage with some impressive return shots, while Wolf battled to keep pace.



Wolf won two consecutive games after Fritz jumped to an early 3-0 advantage, showcasing his strength when a serve topped out at 133 mph.

“I knew that JJ, for his size, had a good serve,” Fritz said of facing Wolf for the first time. “I thought he moved really well out to the forehand when I moved him to the forehand. I was pretty impressed by that. He’s a really solid player.”

Wolf made up ground early on, hitting an impressive drop shot that just barely cleared the net, but Fritz responded to take the first set, 6-3.

The second set featured stiffer competition, as Wolf jumped to an early 2-1 lead, but Fritz, determined not to drop a set for the first time all tournament, battled back, fending off Wolf’s serves to win the set 7-5 and secure himself a spot in Sunday’s final.

Fritz noted the difficulty of adjusting to the Atlanta Open typically was because of the heat, echoing Russell, as well as the speed the court plays.

He believes it’s one of the fastest of all the U.S. Open Series courts, although he acknowledged he hasn’t seen enough of all them yet to make a final judgment.

Fritz explained that where a person played previously often can determine how fast a court is.

To him, coming from Wimbledon to the Atlanta Open, anyone would say that it “felt like lightning.”

“The first couple days I was here, I could barely make contact with the ball and get it on the court,” Fritz said, revealing a bit of his early frustration. “Though once I start getting my timing and feel, you see the ball, you like and you hit it. You hit it well, you’ll be rewarded for it. Which is nice.”

Fritz reached the finals of the 2019 Atlanta Open, but lost to Alex de Minaur. He’s now set to take on Aleksander Vukic, who edged Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.

This time around, however, he’s leaning on experience, attempting to become the second American this season to win ATP titles, joining Tiafoe.

“Honestly I’m a different player than a lot of the other times I’ve been here,” Fritz said. “I’m ready this time for the final.”



Doubles matchup set

The first men’s doubles semifinals took place at noon Saturday. The Australian duo of Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson defeated Marcelo Melo of Brazil and fellow Australian John Peers, 7-6(4), 6-3.

Purcell and Thompson advanced to the finals and will face the team of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, which beat Julian Cash and Robert Galloway 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.

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