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Frances Tiafoe Becomes First Black Man to Reach US Open Semifinals Since Arthur Ashe

Photo Credit: Simon Bruty/USTA
Frances Tiafoe defeated ninth-seeded Andrey Rublev, in straight sets 7–6 (3), 7–6 (0), 6–4 on Wednesday to advance to his first career Grand Slam semifinal.

He is the first American man to reach the semifinals in New York since Andy Roddick lost the title match to Roger Federer 16 years ago. Tiafoe, 24, also became the first Black man to advance to a U.S. Open semifinal since 1972.

That was the year tennis icon Arthur Ashe, namesake of the stadium Tiafoe played in during his win over Rublev, accomplished the feat.

His road to history has not been an easy one.

The 22nd seed, Tiafoe previously posted just seven wins against Top 10 opponents during his career coming into the tournament, however, he paved his way to the semifinals with an early-round victory over 14th-seeded Diego Schwartzman and took a stunning four-set upset on Monday against No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

"Man, this is wild, this is crazy," said Tiafoe following the match. "I probably had the biggest win of my life 48 hours ago, now coming out and getting another big win. Andrey is a hell of a player. Backing it up, it’s huge growth. It’s tough to turn a page but I did and now I’m in the semis."

Tiafoe whose career record before the match was 127-137, will face the winner of Wednesday night’s quarterfinals matchup between No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 11 Jannik Sinner in the men’s singles semifinals on Friday.

If he manages to advance past the semifinal into the championship match, he could become the first American man to win any Grand Slam singles championship since Roddick's U. S. Open victory in 2003, a feat Tiafoe seems confident he can replicate.

“Let’s enjoy this one. We’ve got two more, guys. We’ve got two more [matches to go],” he told the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium to a round of raucous applause.

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