Fritz Completes Eastbourne Title Hat Trick With Victory Over Purcell

Taylor Fritz (photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA)

EASTBOURNE/WASHINGTON, June 29, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

There’s something about Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park grass courts that brings out the best in Taylor Fritz‘s game and his attitude toward playing tennis. It’s a sweet-spot kind of place where he’s won his first, third and eighth career titles – all in a five-year period.

The top-seeded American became the first three-time champion (2019, 2022, 2024) in the 29-year history of the ATP 250 Rothesay International grass-court tournament in Eastbourne, along the southeast coast of England, on Saturday afternoon.

The 13th-ranked Fritz defeated 94th-ranked qualifier Max Purcell of Australia, 6-4, 6-3, in one hour and 10 minutes on Centre Court to collect his second tour-level title of 2024. He completed his final tune-up for next week’s Wimbledon Championships by not dropping a set in his four wins – against Thiago Seyboth Wild, qualifier Shang Juncheng, lucky loser Aleksandar Vukic and Purcell. Additionally, his serve was not broken en route to collecting his eighth career ATP Tour singles title.

Against Purcell, Fritz dropped just four points on his first serve, winning 31 of 35 points (89 percent). He finished with nine aces to zero double faults, hit 15 winners and made just two unforced errors. Fritz converted two of his five break points and faced no break points from Purcell, who hit 10 winners while committing 11 unforced errors. Fritz outpointed Purcell 62-41.

After winning the opening set by breaking Purcell, who double-faulted on set point, the streaky Fritz strung together 12 straight points from 2-all in the second set. He put the title match out of reach from Purcell, who was appearing in his first tour-level final. Fritz won on his fourth match point opportunity.

The 26-year-old Fritz improved to 19-2 against players ranked outside the Top 50 this season, including 6-0 on grass.

“I’m pumped. I always feel like I play well here,” said Fritz in his on-court interview prior to the trophy ceremony. He previously won Eastbourne in 2019 and 2022 and improved to 2-0 lifetime against Purcell. He finished the tournament with 59 service aces. Fritz added: “I kind of just had that feeling coming into the week as well. I did a great job.”

Purcell was upbeat after receiving the runner-up prize. “Huge week for me. Thank you everyone for coming out. It means a lot, my first final, my first semifinal as well. This is a really special place to me. I couldn’t think or any better place to do it right before Wimbledon,” he said.

When Fritz plays his first match at Wimbledon on Tuesday, seeded 13th against Christopher O’Connell of Australia, he will return to World No. 12 in the PIF ATP Rankings and reclaim the American No. 1 ranking.

By the numbers

Taylor Fritz has become the first three-time Eastbourne champion in event history. It was his eighth ATP Tour title and third on grass.

“Quotable …”

“No. (Laughing) Honestly, no. I had an injury at the French Open. I still feel like I’m kind of recovering from it and still out of the corners moving note as fast as I think I could. That’s why I’m here playing on grass. It’s something I can make work on grass as long as I’m serving well. Definitely, I might say this is the best I’ve been serving on grass.”

— Eastbourne champion Taylor Fritz, during his on-court post-match interview, asked if he’s playing his best grass-court tennis of his career right now.