He certainly did soak up the moment. He loved every part of playing in front of a crowd that big. He tried a little bit of showmanship, he did not think he was going down the line, then hitting crosscourt. Federer had been posterized
"I tried to play with him," he said, "and, well, he played me back. "
Then he spoke of his last stand. Of trying to simply survive. "Regroup, hold serve, hold serve," he said he kept telling himself, like a mantra
It did not work. Everyone could feel it, most notably his opponent. "Federer was rolling," Fritz said. "I've seen it so many times before, on TV. Once he's in front, he'll smother you. "
Next up for Federer is the round of 16, and another dangerous young player: Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 20-year-old from Greece, part of a group of 23 and under men making waves in Melbourne. The American Frances Tiafoe, who turns 21 on Sunday, is in fourth round of a major for the first time after his upset of fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson with a five-set victory over Andreas Seppi on Friday
Taylor Fritz Meanwhile, it will return to California, it's more for center courts, more Grand Slam tournaments, more matches against the very best. Against Federer, he has experienced aspects of tennis that, if copied, will add significantly to his growth. How to disrupt timing. When to use angles.
"This was such a learning experience for me," he said. "I plan to take it and get better, get more comfortable in these moments so I can play the way I know I can play. I plan to use this as a steppingstone. "