Frances Tiafoe’s stunning U.S. Open run continues into semifinals

Frances Tiafoe’s impossibly beautiful American dream reached new heights on Wednesday as the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone advanced to the semifinals of the US Open with a dynamic and decisive win over Andrey Rublev of Russia. He celebrated with shouts of joy that were amplified by the ecstatic crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Tiafoe, who got into tennis when his father was working on the construction crew building the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, glared at Rublev to win tiebreaks in each of the first two sets and took control of the third set, breaking the Russian’s serve to lead 4:3. With his 7-6(3), 7-6(0), 6-4 triumph, Tiafoe became the first American to reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick made it that far in 2006.

“Wow. It’s crazy,” he said during an on-pitch interview after the game.

Roddick watched on Wednesday while Tiafoe, who dominated world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in Monday’s fourth round, fired 18 aces with serves that hit 137mph. He averaged 121.9 mph on his first few serves. Tiafoe hit 47 winners to 31 from Rublev, who finished ninth in a field that lost stars like Nadal, No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening rounds. Tiafoe also won 32 of 41 points at the net.

His semi-final opponent on Friday will be the winner of Wednesday night’s game between No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and No. 11 Jannik Sinner of Italy. “I’m going to sit back and hopefully let them fight all night,” he said.

Tiafoe, 24, was born in Hyattsville, Md. to parents who separated and left war-ravaged Sierra Leone for a better life in the United States, where they met and married. Tiafoe and his twin brother Franklin often slept in his father’s office at the tennis center after his father was hired to manage the complex, which also includes tennis courts and a school.

Tiafoe loved the game and was touted for his fame as a young player, but he struggled to find consistency, as young players often do. His best performance so far in a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open. He came to New York number 22, but lost just one set against 22-time Grand Slam singles champion Nadal and is standing 6-0 in the tie-break.

The crowd roared as he wrapped up the win, ran over to hug his supporters, who were seated on the sidelines, and did a few dance moves at will. Crowds also loved it when he said, “We’ve got more,” referring to the two games that stand between him and the first Grand Slam singles title for a US man since Roddick won at Flushing Meadows in 2003 Has.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-09-07/frances-tiafoe-advances-us-open-semifinals-rublev-quarterfinals-jessica-pegula Frances Tiafoe’s stunning U.S. Open run continues into semifinals

Emma Bowman

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