Tiafoe spearheading American challenge at US Open

Frances Tiafoe celebrates his victory against France's Adrian Mannarino to reach the last 16 of the US Open on Friday (KENA BETANCUR)

Frances Tiafoe celebrates his victory against France’s Adrian Mannarino to reach the last 16 of the US Open on Friday (KENA BETANCUR)

Frances Tiafoe is eyeing another deep run at the US Open after surging into the last 16 on Friday with victory over French veteran Adrian Mannarino.

American 10th seed Tiafoe, beaten in five sets in last year’s semi-finals by eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz, has another golden chance to advance to the last four after his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) victory.

The 25-year-old faces Australian wild card entrant Rinky Hijikata in the fourth round on Sunday, with the possibility of an all-American quarter-final against Ben Shelton or Tommy Paul awaiting him if he can overcome the world No.110 from Sydney.

The charismatic Tiafoe is among a contingent of American men who have fared well at this year’s US Open, which no American man has won since Andy Roddick’s victory in 2003.

Tiafoe, Shelton, Paul and Taylor Fritz all advanced to the fourth round on Friday.

Tiafoe said the American quartet have driven each other on over the years.

“This is a group that had a lot of ability, always had a lot of talent,” Tiafoe said.

“Guys were doing really well in their age groups growing up. We competed against each other in big matches, juniors, futures, challengers. Now we’re at the top of the game.

“You see guys do certain things, it makes you believe it, right? The guys you grew up with, rubbed shoulders with and stuff, you see them do well, you’re like, ‘Wow, if this guy is doing it, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do it?’ It’s kind of a domino effect after that.

“You look at a guy, Tommy Paul, took him a while to get going. He believes more than anybody right now. Taylor obviously has been playing well for a while. Myself.

“Then that creates a lot of other people. Ben, he’s had an up-and-down year, but now he’s playing great tennis. He’s putting it together here.”

Tiafoe meanwhile is revelling being back on the Arthur Ashe Stadium — the imposing 23,000-seat center-piece of Flushing Meadows named after the only Black man to win the US Open.

“I have always watched this tournament as a kid and wanted to play out here and in the biggest stages,” Tiafoe said.

“There is so much history here. Obviously, Arthur Ashe – what a legend.

“I just want my name in same sentence as his. That is why I play my best tennis here.”


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