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What happened to Taylor Fritz, Maria Sakkari after ‘California Dreaming’ on ‘Break Point’?
The two made major milestones at the BNP Paribas Open, but how did they handle that success for the rest of the 2022 season?
Published Jan 13, 2023
WATCH: Fritz addresses the crowd after winning the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open.
The so-called “fifth Grand Slam” BNP Paribas Open can be a launchpad to major success for those who capable of playing peak tennis in Indian Wells, but how did ‘Break Point’ protagonists Taylor Fritz and Maria Sakkari fare after breakthrough runs in the California desert?
For Fritz, winning the title over Rafael Nadal earned him a long-awaited Top 15 debut; by year’s end, he had earned a career-high ranking of No. 8 and a debut at the year-end championship ATP Finals in Turin.
The lanky American enjoyed a best-ever Wimbledon run, reaching the quarterfinals without dropping a set. In a rematch with Nadal, Fritz endured a narrow loss to the 22-time Grand Slam champion and picked up a foot injury that hindered his North American summer swing.
Despite a heartbreaking first-round loss at the US Open—to none other than Brandon Holt, son of two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin—Fritz rebounded to win his third title of the season in Tokyo and assure himself an ATP Finals berth, where he reached the semifinals thanks to another victory over Nadal.
Things were more complicated for Sakkari, who finished runner-up to an on-fire Iga Swiatek in Indian Wells. The Greek starlet struggled for consistency throughout the spring and summer months, opening up about the pressures of being a Top 3 player as a result of her BNP Paribas Open run.
“Sometimes when you are on the tour and you play week after week, you don't stop and you don't realize what you have really achieved,” she admitted before the US Open summer swing. “It takes time for some people and I believe that it took time for me. But I feel like I'm on the right track to being myself again. And I believe you're going to see a different Maria than in the last three months.”
It took some time, but Sakkari finished 2022 back towards her best, reaching a second WTA 1000 final in Guadalajara to assure herself a berth at the WTA Finals. Once there, she stormed through round-robin play, avenging her Guadalajara final defeat to Jessica Pegula and scoring two more wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Ona Jabeur to reach the semifinals.
Both Fritz and Sakkari will enter the 2023 Australian Open after solid results at the inaugural United Cup; can either maintain their improved form in time for another big run in Indian Wells?