Taylor Fritz may have just single-handedly changed American fortunes on clay

Fritz moves into the semifinals at the Madrid Masters.
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What does Taylor Fritz think he is doing? Doesn't he know that Americans are not supposed to win on European clay? He must not because after defeating Francisco Cerundolo in the quarterfinals at the Madrid Masters, Fritz has become just the third American to make the semis in Madrid and the first to do so while the event has been played on clay.

Americans simply do not win on European clay. Only two American men since 2011 have won a clay court event in Europe. Fritz is proving a couple of things in his run in Madrid. One is that he could actually be a threat at the French Open. Two is that he is the most well-rounded American men's player and that argument is not a close one.

To be fair, Madrid might offer a unique experience for players who are better on hard courts. While the courts are clay, they seem more like hard courts so players used to playing on that surface have to adjust less. That is to take nothing away from Fritz because he has now advanced further in Madrid than Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, and Jannik Sinner in 2024.

Taylor Fritz almost shockingly is into the semifinals at the Madrid Masters

The victory has to give him hope entering Roland Garros at the end of May. The victory in three sets - 6-1 3-6 6-3 - over Cerundolo, an excellent clay-court player, also gives Fritz his 250th victory on the ATP tour. His ranking as the top American is also cemented with the victory, though he still remains No. 13 on the ATP tour.

Should he win in Madrid, though, he will leapfrog Alex de Minaur and Holger Rune and get back to No. 11.

As well as Fritz has been playing on clay over the last couple of tournaments, he should have confidence heading into the summer on grass and hard courts. He should find himself back in the top 10 by September. He has the talent, he just needs to continue to execute well.

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