American #NextGenATP star Taylor Fritz recorded his first win at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as he defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2.
The 19-year-old Fritz is looking for a good showing in Indian Wells as he bids to return to the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, having been as high as No. 53 in August last year. The right-hander made great strides at the beginning of last year, reaching his first ATP World Tour final in Memphis (l. to Nishikori) and the quarterfinals in Acapulco (l. to Querrey).
"I always think I play well here," said Fritz. "This is where I'm from. I have played in Indian Wells since I was, like, eight years old probably. I have come down here for tournaments. Just being from San Diego and having a lot of family that lives out here in the desert, it's like a second home to me.
"I have been telling everyone that I think I have been playing my best tennis ever this week. It's been going really well in practice, and I just hope that I can kind of just bring that onto the court in my next match."
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Fritz goes on to face sixth seed Marin Cilic. "I will be focusing on the key parts of my game, which is the serve and just staying aggressive, attacking, but not giving him too many free points," said Fritz. "If I do that, I'll definitely be in the match. If I'm serving well, I'll be in any match.
Kyle Edmund will face five-time former champion Novak Djokovic in the second round after defeating Gastao Elias 6-1, 6-3 in 66 minutes. Looking ahead to his clash with the World No. 2, Edmund said, "The things he does well are making a lot of balls and being quick around the court. It's tough to get the ball by him and break him down. These are things that I've experienced the last two times I've played him. I'll try and use that on Sunday."
Elsewhere, Mikhail Youzhny set a second-round clash with Australian Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov after beating fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4.
Kevin Anderson claimed his first win in more than four months as he defeated qualifier Federico Gaio 6-1, 6-4. The South African made his comeback from injury last month in Memphis (l. to Dzumhur) and Delray Beach (l. to del Potro) after being sidelined at the start of the season due to a hip problem. Next up he will face 24th seed Steve Johnson.