ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Taylor Fritz celebrated his 24th birthday by beating doubles partner Tommy Paul, 7-6 (3), 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals of the St. Petersburg Open on Thursday.
It was a bittersweet victory because the Americans are good friends.
"It makes it even tougher — not just another American, one of my closest friends," the fifth-seeded Fritz said in his on-court interview. "It's never easy playing against a really close friend."
The California native jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set and capitalized on Paul's early double-fault in the tiebreaker. Paul converted just one of his four break points.
Fritz will next face Australian John Millman, who advanced by upsetting fourth-seeded Aslan Karatsev, 6-3, 6-2. Karatsev won the Kremlin Cup on Sunday but the Russian lost his cool at 2-2 in the second set. He handed the 57th-ranked Millman a break when he was penalized a point for slamming his racket on the court after sailing a backhand wide at deuce.