The calls came on Courts 1 and 2, just mere seconds apart, announcing the wins of Taylor Fritz and Brayden Schnur, respectively. Fans enjoying a sun-filled day of tennis at Newport Beach Tennis Club needed only to turn their heads from Court 1 to Court 2 in order to see each match point.
For defending Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach champion Taylor Fritz on Court 1, it was a breezy 2-set victory over Frenchman Enzo Couacoud, a match that lasted just under 53 minutes: 6-1, 6-4. With the first set lasting only 17 minutes, Fritz got off to a strong start in front of the packed stands cheering him on. The Frenchman put up more of a fight in the second set but World No. 50 and California boy kept the lead, eventually taking the match.
For Oracle Challenger Series newcomer it was a hard-fought three-set tie break win over American Donald Young that lasted two hours and twenty minutes. Schnur made his presence known in Newport Beach on Thursday when he upset number 2 seed and World No. 81 Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. Another upset in the quarterfinals, Schnur easily beat Janson Jung of Taipei 6-2, 6-1. His victory over World No. 231 Young was not as easy: 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6).
Physically, Fritz, 21, and Schnur, 23, are pretty evenly matched, with both men standing at 6’4″ and weighing in at just under 200 lbs. and both finalists are right-handed with a two-handed backhand. But the similarities stop there. While Fritz is fresh off a third round appearance in Melbourne, this is Schnur’s second ever ATP Challenger Tour finals appearance, and a win tomorrow would be his first title.