Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert got past local American Taylor Fritz 7-6(4), 6-4 to book his spot in the second round at the Miami Open. He will now face second seed Marin Cilic.
Herbert wins opener in a tiebreaker
Herbert began proceedings on Stadium court by holding serve to 15. The home favorite Fritz followed suit to also hold his first service game for 1-1. The Frenchman stayed ahead by once again holding serve before applying mini pressure to the American.
Behind 30-40 in the fourth game, the 27-year-old fired a forehand winner to send the game to deuce. However, a forehand winner followed by an unreturnable second serve gave the 20-year-old the game to keep in touch and level the match at 2-2.
From then on in, both players continued to look strong on serve and give one another little room for error and as the set progressed, neither was backing down and Fritz, just like he had done previously, had to escape a deuce game at 6-5 to force a first set tiebreaker. At the start of the breaker, both lost serve to make it 1-1.
But with both looking strong, neither was looking like giving away the set until the tenth point when the Frenchman broke by attacking his opponent to earn set point. For the first time in the set, Fritz's serve broke down as he served the most untimely of double-faults to gift the set to Herbert, 7-6(4).
The match opens up; Herbert advances
The second set started out with a love hold for the American. He then earned the first break point of the entire match at advantage with the 27-year-old's first double-fault. His serve would get him out of trouble momentarily as he served an ace to send the game to deuce once again.
He would go on to save a second break point but the 20-year-old broke at the third attempt. However, the world number 81 broke straight back and saved a break point en route to consolidating to level at 2-2. Both players were canceling each other out and the next three service games went with the server as Fritz found himself 3-4 ahead.
Attempting to force a decider, the American grabbed a fifth break point of the set at 30-40 by forcing an error after hitting a backhand shot down the line. But the Frenchman saved the breakpoint then went on to hold for 4-4.
After saving a breakpoint, Herbert then earned two of his own at 15-40 with an excellent return to the feet of his opponent who sent the shot beyond the baseline. Fritz could only save one breakpoint as Herbert broke. He then clinched the match on his first match point to knock out home favorite Fritz.