INDIAN WELLS: Taylor Fritz begins title defense Indian Wells Saturday with a hard-fought second-round victory over American Ben Shelton 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Earlier this year, Fritz won his fifth ATP Tour title in Delray Beach, a victory that moved him to fifth in the world rankings and vaulted him to the top spot. the first American tennis player Andy Roddick’s first top-five finish since September 2009.
But she fell short against 41st-ranked Shelton, who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January in her first trip outside the United States.
“He is a really good player and I expected him to serve well and play well – he has nothing to lose, so I expected him to perform at a very high level,” Fritz said.
“I had to regroup and find a way to solve the problem. I’m glad I won it.”
Fritz, from California, suffered a foot injury in last year’s Indian Wells final against Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal.
He reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year.
Fritz, seeded fourth in a field led by world number two Carlos Alcaraz, will next face Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata or Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, seeded 30th.