Fixture: Taylor Fritz vs Nikoloz Basilashvili
Date: 12 March 2021
Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $787,930
Match timing: Approx. 8 pm local time, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Taylor Fritz vs Nikoloz Basilashvili preview
Two of the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open quarterfinals on Thursday produced some jaw-dropping tennis, leaving Taylor Fritz and Nikoloz Basilashvili to fight for a place in Saturday's final.
Fritz and Basilashvili both staged sensational comebacks, returning from a set down to eliminate Denis Shapovalov and Roger Federer respectively.
Shapovalov began the match against Fritz in the best way possible, winning all 24 of his points on serve to take the opening set. But the American came roaring back, winning four of the Canadian's first six service points in the second set.
There was no stopping Fritz after that as he engineered his way to a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 victory over the higher-ranked Canadian.
Fritz has proven himself to be one of the players to beat in Doha, having also ousted Lorenzo Sonego and David Goffin earlier in the week. Even though the courts are a tad slower this year, the American has taken that in his stride and summoned an extra bit of power to outhit his opponents.
Next in line for Taylor Fritz is Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat comeback-man Roger Federer 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Federer began in exceptional fashion, breaking Basilashvili early to race to a 3-1 lead and eventually close out the set 6-3. But the Georgian unleashed some big groundstrokes in the second, completely outplaying Federer on his way to a breadstick.
Basilashvili then survived a late onslaught from the fatigued 39-year-old in the decider. The Georgian saved a match point on his serve at 4-5 before breaking Federer's serve decisively at 5-5.
Taylor Fritz vs Nikoloz Basilashvili head-to-head
Taylor Fritz leads Nikoloz Basilashvili 1-0 in the head-to-head. Their only meeting took place at Chengdu in 2017, with the American triumphing in three sets.
Taylor Fritz vs Nikoloz Basilashvili prediction
Given the way Taylor Fritz and Nikoloz Basilashvili got the better of their opponents in the quarterfinals, we might be in for a very closely fought semifinal on Thursday. Both players can serve big and belt even bigger groundstrokes, but can also be extremely erratic at times.
Fritz's serve has improved with each match in Doha, which is likely to hold him in good stead against Basilashvili. The American also has an extra bit of power in his groundstrokes, which could put Basilashvili out of position more often than he'd like.
High on confidence after beating Federer, Basilashvili would be eager to make it four wins on the trot. But Fritz's form and firepower will likely stand tall in the face of the Georgian's challenge.
Prediction: Taylor Fritz to win in three sets.