Frances Tiafoe passes in the fourth round, Nadal passes next

Taylor Fritz was the American who was supposed to make a dent at the 2022 US Open, but he was ousted by a first-round qualifier.

Frances Tiafoe, however, still has the magic wand at Flushing Meadows. The 22nd seed advanced to the fourth round for a third consecutive year and will face Rafael Nadal, who beat Richard Gasquet, on Labor Day.

Coming off a 6-3 hole in the opening set tiebreaker, Tiafoe cruised to a 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-4 victory over scrappy Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.

Tiafoe is the first American to make the fourth round of three straight Opens since Mardy Fish (2010-12). He did it by coming back from a two-break hole in the first set.

But Tiafoe, from the suburbs of Washington, does not want to stop there, even if he will face the Spanish legend next.

“I’m not really concerned about the quarter-final,” Tiafoe said. “I want to go further, don’t I? Yeah, the third year in a row, the fourth round, it could be worse, right? It’s rather good. But I want to go a little further this year.”

Frances Tiafoe celebrates after winning the US Open third round.

Tiafoe has only faced Nadal twice – both times in 2019 (including at the Australian Open) and both times resulting in losses. Tiafoe plays with superb pace and excellent court coverage, but gives away free points.

“I’m definitely a different player in 2019, playing much better,” Tiafoe said. “I’m not going to have that first time playing it, excited to play. Now I believe I can beat him. If I end up playing it, I will definitely pursue it. ”

Dart fired. It’s been a few years since Tiafoe was considered America’s next young prospect. However, he is only 24 years old. His time could be now, with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer not at the Open, and Nadal is now 36.

Frances Tiafoe hits a forehand in her third round victory at the US Open.
Frances Tiafoe hits a forehand in her third round victory at the US Open.
Corey Sipkins

“There’s just a fair changing of the guard in general,” Tiafoe said earlier this week. “Who is going to be this guy, who is going to be this consistent guy who hasn’t really trained yet? Everyone is pretty much on the same level, honestly. Everyone is beatable at the same time.

“Even the best guys.”

Tiafoe attended the first two games of Serena Williams’ historic run and said a few days ago what she was doing made her job “irrelevant”. But Monday will not be that at all.

Tiafoe laughed at the memory of playing mixed doubles with Williams as a partner in Australia, facing Federer, who smashed back-to-back aces.

“I don’t know how this guy gets on me,” Tiafoe recalled telling Williams. “She says, ‘Don’t worry, we’re not going to lose. Even if we lose, I have 23 [Slams], he has 20, so all is well. ”


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