Taylor Fritz kept hopes of a second straight Nitto ATP Finals berth alive at the Rolex Paris Masters, dismissing Sebastian Baez, 6-1, 6-4 after a late injury scare on Monday.

Ranked No. 10 in the Live ATP Race to Turin rankings, Fritz needs some strong results, both at Masters 1000 tournament of 2023 and an ATP 250 in Sofia, to maximize his Finals bid—no easy feat in a quarter with current No. 8 Holger Rune and top seed Novak Djokovic. Still, the former world No. 5 was looking in control against the Argentine on Center Court when he took a sudden medical time out from a set and a break up.

Complaining of pain on his side, Fritz was heard telling the doctor that an illness had been causing him to cough profusely over the last week, a symptom which perhaps aggravated his abdominal muscles.

“It’s something that’s been bothering me for a little bit,” he explained after the match. “It sounds crazy but when I get sick and I cough a lot, that spot there gets really inflamed and aggravated. I had it earlier this year and you can still probably hear how I was sick last week. I didn’t think it was anything too bad going in, but when I slid out and sliced that forehand, I thought I tore something. I’m going to have to get it checked out and see what’s going on.”


Despite visible discomfort, Fritz nonetheless served his way to victory in 70 minutes, striking 25 total winners to 17 unforced errors. Fritz will next wait for a potential third rounder with Rune later in the week.

Rune had looked like a clear contender for Turin after Wimbledon only for persistent injuries to leave him struggling for form throughout the summer hard court swing. Now paired with new coach Boris Becker, the Dane appears poised to make a push for his first year-end Finals bid, having narrowly missed out on a Turin debut in 2022 after winning his first Masters 1000 title in Paris. The No. 6 seed will open against a former Grand Slam champion regardless as he will face either Stan Wawrinka or Dominic Thiem.

For Fritz, the result was a rare bright spot for the U.S. men’s contingent in Paris, one that came after a trio of defeats from an otherwise in-form Ben Shelton and both Frances Tiafoe and Christopher Eubanks.

Shelton, still fresh off his maiden ATP title run in Tokyo, failed to capitalize on a second-set comeback and ultimately lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while Tiafoe and Eubanks bowed out to Alexander Bublik and Tallon Griekspoor, respectively.

Countryman Tommy Paul is also in contention for Turin; the Australian Open semifinalist is set to play sentimental favorite Richard Gasquet later on Monday evening.