American Taylor Fritz, who was born in San Diego and attended Torrey Pines High School, defeated Russian Andrey Rublev Saturday to earn a berth in Sunday’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Fritz, the 20th-ranked player in the world, beat the seventh-ranked Rublev, 7-5, 6-4, to reach his seventh ATP tour final and first at Indian Wells.
He’ll play Rafael Nadal, the winner of Saturday’s other men’s semifinal against fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal is ranked fourth.
“It doesn’t even seem real,” said Fritz, who snapped a 13-match winning streak for Rublev. “It’s such a dream come true. It’s all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the years. I can see it finally paying off. It’s reason why I play tennis.”
Fritz is the first American man to reach the Indian Wells final since John Isner in 2012.
“It’s going to be a really different match depending on which one of them wins,” Fritz said. “But Rafa’s Rafa, and Alcaraz has been playing really well this whole week. He’s an amazing player. I’m going to have to play a lot like I did today.”
The women’s final will be played Sunday and matches fourth-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland against Greece’s sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari, who defeated last year’s winner at Indian Wells, Spaniard Paula Badosa, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 on Friday.
“I worked my entire life to get to these late stages of the tournaments,” Sakkari said after her win. “I know it looks maybe silly to someone — it’s not like I won the tournament, I’m in the final — but it means a lot to me.
Swiatek beat Romanian Simona Halep on Friday, 7-6, 6-4.
“I know Iga really well, she’s a lovely girl and an amazing player, she won a (Grand) Slam at the age of 19, she’s an unbelievable player — I respect her a lot and admire her game,” Sakkari said. “It’s going to be an unbelievable fight for both of us and a very tough match for both of us, because I believe that we both really want to win that title.”
Ticket information can be found at bnpparibasopen.com/tickets/.