Frances Tiafoe, the American tennis pro, advanced to the US Open semifinals with an upset straight-sets win over Russian-born Andrey Rublev on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite winning all three sets, the match was very close, as Tiafoe needed to win a tiebreaker in the first two sets to capture the lead, and won the final set 6–4.
After a 2-hour and 13-minute match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Tiafoe, the 22nd-ranked player in the world, emerged victorious 7–6, 7–6, 6–4.
He is the last remaining American in the men’s single tournament and will play the winner of Italian Jannik Sinner and Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.
Tiafoe is the first American to reach the semifinals since Andy Roddick in 2006.
Neither player on Wednesday afternoon managed to break the other player until Tiafoe bested Rublev on his service game in the third set to take a 4–3 lead, and pull within two games of advancing further than he ever has in Grand Slam play.
Rublev, the 9th-ranked player heading into the tournament, put up a fight the entire match and brought the next game to a pair of break points, but Tiafoe fended him off and won to secure a 5–3 lead.
After dropping the next game, Tiafoe won his service game to take a victory in the match
“This is wild. This is crazy,” he said.
The American dropped the next game while Rublev served, but closed out the match in the third set 6–4 to head to position himself two wins away from the US Open title.
Over the course of the match, Tiafoe fended off all 4 brake points and dealt 18 aces to his Russian opponent. He also dominated points where he rushed to the net, as he continuously shot dropshots that Rublev could only watch from afar.
A son of immigrants from Sierra Leone, who came to the United States while feeling a civil war, Tiafoe beat Rafael Nadal in the round of 16, dealing the Spanish-born player his first loss in a Grand Slam tournament in 22 games.
He began his tennis career while waiting for his father to finish work as a custodian at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, and took up tennis as a hobby. Since then, the 24-year-old has emerged as one of the most prolific tennis players in the world.