Tommy Paul keeps American flag flying at Queen’s – but Taylor Fritz misses huge opportunity

Tommy Paul in action.
Tommy Paul is through to the last four at Queen's - but Taylor Fritz fell in the quarter-final.

There was a distinctly American flavour to proceeding at Queen’s on Friday, with three of the four quarter-finals featuring US players.

Among those in action were fourth seed Taylor Fritz and fifth seed Tommy Paul – the two highest seeds left in action, with expectations and hopes high for both.

For Paul, it was a successful afternoon, reaching the last four at Queen’s for the first time.

Paul certainly had a difficult test against Jack Draper, who had won three of his four previous meetings against the American – and had beaten Carlos Alcaraz the day before.

In front of his raucous home crowd, Draper did not settle in the first set, and Paul was too solid not to take advantage, breaking for a 5-3 lead before closing out the set.

His British opponent broke at the end of the second set to force a decider, but Paul impressively stayed in control of the contest and ultimately sealed a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory.

“Holding serve against him is so important – he serves so well,” said Paul.

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“I was happy to be in a lot of his service games. I’ve played a lot of matches against him where I felt like I didn’t get to 30 one time, so it was nice to be in his service games, and keeping the ball lower on grass, I think that was helpful for me.

“I reset a little bit [after set two] because I think in the first set I played very aggressive, and dictated the speed of the match. The second set he hopped on top and started really going after it.

“When I came out in the third, that was my plan.”

This was undoubtedly a missed opportunity for Fritz, though.

With Alcaraz, Alex de Minaur, and Grigor Dimitrov all out before the quarter-final stage, the fourth seed was the highest player left in the draw – and many people’s pick to lift the title come Sunday.

Jordan Thompson – who beat Holger Rune in round one – was never going to be an easy opponent but this was a match Fritz was expected to win.

However, despite looking so strong all week, the world No 12 rarely looked at his best in a rather disappointing display, completely dismantled by his Australian opponent who was good value for his 6-4, 6-3 win.

And now, there is a chance that Paul could usurp Fritz as the national No 1.

Claiming the title would hand Paul enough ranking points to move above his contemporary, and claim US bragging rights – at least until after Wimbledon.

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