Has Taylor Fritz been handed a big advantage ahead of Novak Djokovic showdown?

Shahida Jacobs
Taylor Fritz and Novak Djokovic after a match
Taylor Fritz (USA), left, congratulates Novak Djokovic (SRB) after their match

There were a few raised eyebrows when the US Open order of play for day nine was released as Novak Djokovic’s clash against Taylor Fritz was penciled in for quite early on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Four quarter-final matches are scheduled for Tuesday at Flushing Meadows with all four assigned to the main showpiece court: Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Besides Djokovic and Fritz, there will also be an all-American clash in the men’s draw as Frances Tiafoe takes on Ben Shelton. In the women’s draw, sixth seed Coco Gauff takes on Jelena Ostapenko while Sorana Cirstea is up against Karolina Muchova.

To the surprise of many tennis fans, organisers opted to put Gauff-Ostapenko first up on Ashe and that will be followed by Djokovic-Fritz. The evening session will start with Cirstea and Muchova before Tiafoe and Shelton slug it out.

One fan lamented to former world No 1 Andy Roddick about the scheduling as he felt it would work against Fritz, writing on Twitter/X: “Sucks for fritz he didn’t get the night match tomorrow. Feel like the night crowd energy could’ve been a big help.”

However, 2003 US Open champion Roddick explained that playing in extreme heat in New York could work in his fellow American’s favour.

“Conditions better for him during day. He wants as much heat as possible to potentially affect things,” he replied. “Court plays quicker during the day. Needs things to be extreme. If I’m him, I’d rather have hit as hot as possible during the day.”

The reply was: “Your the expert and that sounds good to me. But what about just the conditioning in the heat. Taylor is in great shape but vs novak? But i get your point. The more disruptive things are out there the better for the underdog.”

And Roddick again hammered home that the hot conditions could aid Fritz, writing: “Correct. As extreme as possible, and as many factors as possible.”

Djokovic holds a 7-0 lead in his head-to-head against Fritz with four of those victories coming on hard courts. Their most recent clash was in Cincinnati in August with Djokovic claiming a 6-0, 6-4 win.

In fact, Fritz has taken only two sets off Djokovic and that came during the 2021 Australian Open when he lost in five sets.

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