NEW YORK — With the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders, American Frances Tiafoe rose to the occasion on Wednesday by reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final with a 7-6(3) 7-6(0) 6-4 win over Russian Andrey Rublev at the US Open.
Not since Andy Roddick in 2003 has a US man won the title at Flushing Meadows and the pressure was on for the 24-year-old to build on his stunning win over second seed Rafa Nadal in the fourth round.
He did not disappoint, launching 18 aces and 46 winners in a dominant performance, injecting new excitement among the home crowd after 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams bowed out following what is expected to be her final appearance in the third round.
Mr. Rublev put up a fight for two sets but his game unravelled as Mr. Tiafoe stormed through the second set tiebreak, shouting out in anger and whacking his racket after an ace from the American flew past him.
“That’s the best tiebreak I’ll ever play,” said Mr. Tiafoe.
Wearing a bracelet that read: “Why not me?” Mr. Tiafoe sealed it with an ace to become the first Black American man to reach a US Open semi-final since Arthur Ashe 50 years ago, playing in the stadium named after the late former champion. — Reuters