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Taylor Fritz, who grew up in Rancho Santa Fe, won the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday at Indian Wells
Taylor Fritz, who grew up in Rancho Santa Fe, won the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo via Twitter/BNP Paribas
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San Diego native Taylor Fritz defeats Nadal in BNP Paribas Open final

SAN DIEGO — San Diego-born Taylor Fritz defeated Rafael Nadal, 6- 3, 7-6 (5) on Sunday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden to become the first American man to win the BNP Paribas Open since Andre Agassi in 2001.

The 20th-seeded Fritz, who grew up in Rancho Santa Fe, won his first ATP Masters 1000 title despite reaggravating an ankle injury suffered Saturday in his semifinal victory over seventh-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev.

“I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous it is that I was able to play how I could play today,” Fritz, who attended Torrey Pines High School, said choking back tears after fulfilling his childhood dream of winning in his native Southern California. “I’ve never experienced worse pain in my life before a match.

“We did a lot of work leading up to the match and I went through a roller coaster of emotions before the match, from thinking there was no way I could possibly play to then doing all this work on the ankle, doing so much stuff to it…. I came out here and it didn’t really affect me at all.

After reaggravating the injury, Fritz went back out for a second warmup on an outer court, but after the session, his full team advised him not to play the match.

“All three of his team, me, Mike Russell and (fitness trainer) Wolfgang Oswald all said, ‘Do not play this match,”’ Fritz’s coach Paul Annacone told Tennis Channel. “He said, ‘I am playing. I can do this. I want to get out on the court with Rafa and see if I can overcome.'”

The loss ended a 20-match winning streak for Nadal, which included winning the Australian Open and two other tournaments. The loss was the first for the fourth-seeded Nadal since Aug. 6, when he lost to South African Lloyd Harris in a third-round match of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. in what would be his last match of 2021, as he was sidelined until January by a foot injury.

Nadal was seeking a record-tying 37th ATP Masters 1000 title.

Fritz received $1,242,025 for the victory while Nadal received $665,330 for reaching the final.

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