Fritz recovers from Covid to oust Duckworth in Tokyo

Published October 6, 2022
STEVE Johnson of the US plays a return against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during their Japan Open match on Wednesday.—AFP
STEVE Johnson of the US plays a return against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during their Japan Open match on Wednesday.—AFP

TOKYO: American Taylor Fritz said he surprised even himself after climbing out of his sickbed, flying to Tokyo and beating Australian James Duckworth at the Japan Open on Wednesday.

Fritz spent seven days in quarantine in a Seoul hotel room after getting “pretty sick” upon arriving last week for the Korea Open, which he was forced to withdraw from.

The 24-year-old left South Korea and flew to Japan on Wednesday morning and barely had time to practise before he was due on court for his first-round match against the unseeded Duckworth.

The number three seed still emerged a 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1 winner and said the match had been “better than I thought it would be”.

“I don’t feel amazing but I’m really happy that I was able to go through all that and still show up for my match,” said Fritz.

Earlier in the day, Canadian number seven seed Denis Shapovalov — who lost to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the final of last week’s Korea Open —beat American Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Nishioka was looking to make a triumphant homecoming after winning his second ATP Tour title in Seoul but he lost 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 to Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic.

In a second-round match-up earlier in the day, South Korea’s Kwon Soonwoo beat American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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