Frances Tiafoe loves the biggest stages and challenges in tennis. The Americans could get that result at the U.S. Open on Monday.
The No. 22 seed saved five sets in the first set before beating No. 14 seed Diego Schwarzman 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-4 at Flushing Meadow Sri Lanka enters the fourth round, where he will face Rafael Nadal.
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Tiafoe is the first American to reach the fourth round at the US Open three years in a row since Maddy Fish accomplished the feat in 2010-12. He will try to advance to his second Grand Slam quarterfinal.
It was a clean game for Thiafoe, who hit 45 winners, made just 34 unforced errors and converted eight of the 18 break points he won. The home favorites leveled his ATP Head2Head series with Schwartzman after 3 hours and 2 minutes.
The key inside the Louis Armstrong Stadium was in the first set, with Schwarzman leading 5-2. The Argentine served three times and saved two sets at 5-4. On both counts, he made unforced errors. Schwarzman had another 3 at 6/3 in the tiebreaker, but couldn’t convert either of them. Tiafoe took full advantage of that and never gave up on the momentum there.
“I thought it was a hell of a game. Especially the first set, it was the craziest set of my career,” Thiafoe said. “It’s got everything. Two breaks, 6-5 again, I’m 6/3 behind on the break. Unbelievable how I won the set.”
Nadal has beaten Tiafoe in straight sets in both of his previous ATP Head2Head meetings. These matches were played at the 2019 Australian Open and Mutua Madrid Open.
In other action, Jannik Sinner advanced to the fourth round in New York for the second year in a row with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima.
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, the Italians sacked 59 winners after 3 hours and 2 minutes in a late-night fight at Louis Armstrong Stadium. After the 28-year-old beat #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, the 21-year-old is next with Ilya Meet Ivaska.
Sinner won his sixth Tour-level title at Umag in July, finishing 14th at the Hot Rock ATP live in Turin. The Italian is hoping to finish the season on a strong note as he aims to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in November in Pala Alpitul.