NEW YORK — Frances Tiafoe’s tennis journey started at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland back in 2003. Now, Tiafoe is off to the semifinals of the U.S. Open for the first time in his career.
The Hyattsville, Maryland native defeated Andrey Rublev 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York on Wednesday. The No. 22-seeded Tiafoe is the first U.S. man to make it the semifinals in the tournament since Andy Roddick lost to Roger Federer 16 years ago.
Tiafoe’s parents met in the United States after fleeing civil war in Sierra Leone and had twins together: Franklin and Frances. Their mother, Alpina, would work night shifts as nurse while their father, Constant, would teach the game of tennis at the center he worked at as a custodian. The many sacrifices Tiafoe’s parents made to launch their son’s career were on display at the U.S. Open.
After Tiafoe would win a game, his mother would shake her fist to encourage her son. Washington Wizards star, Bradley Beal, who was sitting courtside Wednesday continued that tradition. At one point during the third set, Tiafoe and Beal flexed their muscles at each other. Tiafoe seemed to be energized by the show of hometown support during the match.
The 24-year-old is now the face of a new generation of American tennis, the youngest American man to advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Open since 2005. He will take on No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz or No. 11 Jannik Sinner Friday.