Frances Tiafoe Image Credit: ShutterStock

Frances Tiafoe Is Carrying Arthur Ashe’s Torch at the US Open

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Not many had heard of Frances Tiafoe outside of the tennis community before this year’s U.S. Open.

But his inspiring run at the event has amassed a new legion of followers, particularly those who tuned in to watch Serena Williams’ reported final Open appearance and Coco Gauff’s run to the quarterfinals.

Now, these fans are tuning in to watch the 22nd-ranked Tiafoe follow the path that Arthur Ashe blazed fifty years ago at the courts now graced by a new generation of players like Big Foe.

According to the US Open, Tiafoe became the first Black American man to reach a US Open semifinal since Arthur Ashe did it in 1972.

And, even more significantly, Tiafoe accomplished that feat on a court named after Ashe.

“I love to show the world what I can do,” said the 24-year-old Tiafoe. “I just want to go out there and try to give the crowd what they want — and that’s me getting the win.”

Tiafoe’s history-making run hasn’t been easy.

In the first round, he defeated fellow American Marcos Giron 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.

His second-round match against Australian Jason Kubler was more challenging, with Tiafoe winning 7-6, 7-5, 7-6.

The third round against Argentinian Diego Schwartzman began the same way the second round ended, 7-6 before Tiafoe dug in and prevailed 6-4, 6-4.

Then came the round of sixteen, where he faced off against the no. 2 ranked player in the world, Rafael Nadal.

Not many gave Tiafoe a chance against the dominant player from Spain, many thinking that his exciting run was over.

But Tiafoe had other plans.

The younger player refused to back down, eventually shocking the Spaniard and the world with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory, pushing him into the quarterfinals against Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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