Simon carried a 5-5 record on the year into Flushing Meadows and failed to get out of qualifying at last week's Western and Southern Open. He thumped Mohamed Safwat in straight sets in his first round match here, losing just nine games. Fritz came into the US Open with a slightly better 7-5 record and he dropped the opening set of his first round encounter against Dominik Koepfer before posting a 6-7 (9), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
There has been only one prior matchup between Simon and Fritz with the Frenchman prevailing 6-4, 6-4 on home soil in the second round of the event in Nice in 2016.
Playing last on Court 17, the match is scheduled to start at 3:30pm Eastern Standard time. The winner will play either 12th seed Denis Shapovalov or South Korean Soon-woo Kwon in the third round on Friday.
This matchup is a contrast in styles. Simon is a steady baseline player who will look to play long rallies and dictate with his backhand while Fritz has a powerful game with his serve and forehand the main weapons. The 19th seed will want to keep the points short and look to hit to the Frenchman's forehand as often as possible.
Fritz can't afford to get off to a slow start in this encounter as he did against Koepfer as Simon is a very hard player to beat when he is in a rhythm and controlling the action from the baseline. Additionally, the American must prevent the Frenchman from moving him around the court to create openings to hit his backhand into.
The conditions are a bit cooler than they were the first two days, so neither man should have trouble if the match goes into a fourth or fifth set. Control of the baseline may very well determine who comes out on top with Fritz looking to attack every chance he gets. Simon is excellent at absorbing pace, so the 21-year old will also need to stay patient.
The different ways in which the two men go about winning matches makes for an excellent contrast, but the quicker Court 17 should aid Fritz and while Simon will certainly have his moments in this contest, the American should pull through in a hard-fought affair.
Prediction: Taylor Fritz in four sets