Taylor Fritz, who was born in San Diego and attended Torrey Pines High School, will face Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal Sunday in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Fritz, the 20th-ranked player in the world, beat seventh-ranked Andrey Rublev of Russia, 7-5, 6-4, on Saturday to reach his seventh ATP tour final and first at Indian Wells.
“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.”
The 24-year-old 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.”
Nadal — whose 21 Grand Slam titles are the most in history — beat fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in Saturday’s other men’s semifinal against. Nadal, 35, is currently ranked fourth.
Poland’s Iga Swiatek won the women’s title Sunday, beating Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-4, 6-1. Swiatek was ranked fourth, Sakkari sixth, but both will see their rankings rise as a result of making the finals.
“We already started a pretty cool rivalry,” Swiatek said. “I think it’s going to last for, like, 10 more years. I’m sure we’re going to play many more finals.
“It’s pretty crazy,” she continued. “I wasn’t expecting to be in this place, especially after playing so well in my previous tournaments. I didn’t know it was possible for me to play that well for that long.”
The 20-year-old Swiatek has won 11th consecutive matches.
Sakkari, 26, took the loss in stride.
“Even though today wasn’t my day, this tournament is going to have a very special place in my heart,” she said.